Rep. Coffman’s Veterans Mental Health Bill Advances To US Senate

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<p>(AP Photo)</p>
<p>The Department of Veterans Affairs building in Washington, D.C.</p>
Photo: Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington D.C. (AP)
The Department of Veterans Affairs building in Washington, D.C.

Proposed legislation that could help veterans who were kicked out of the Army under questionable pretenses took an important step earlier this month.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, passed through the U.S. House and could soon be taken up in the Senate. It would allow vets with “other-than-honorable” discharges to receive mental health treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs. As CPR and NPR reported in 2015, the Army has used such discharges to kick out thousands of soldiers with brain injuries and other mental health issues.

“These are veterans who served overseas, often times in multiple combat tours, that were given discharges … really based on often minor misconduct. And it was a way that predominantly the United States Army used to thin its ranks in the aftermath of the buildup in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Coffman said. “I think it's a pretty insidious way to do it.”

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