House lawmaker praises Senate for passing veterans ID bill

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) was happy with this week’s Senate passage of his legislation to allow all veterans to receive ID cards that verify their veteran status.

The bill is expected to receive swift approval from the House before being sent to the president for his signature.

“A simple, standardized ID card will make life easier for our veterans and serve as a reminder that our brave servicemen and women deserve all the respect a grateful nation can offer,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan, who serves upwards of 70,000 veterans inside his congressional district in Southwest Florida, has explained that many U.S. veterans cannot document their service years unless they provide their official military service records. These records, also called DD-214 forms, contain personal information such as Social Security numbers and service history, placing veterans who use these forms at a higher risk for identity theft.

Under current law, the VA only offers ID cards to veterans who have logged a minimum of 20 years in the armed forces, or to those who require special medical care for a service-connected disability. This leaves a large population of veterans with no easy way to show proof of their military service. Buchanan’s legislation addresses this.

“Congressman Buchanan has been a tireless advocate for veterans here in Southwest Florida and across the nation,” retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Lee Kichen of Sarasota said. “From securing funding for the new Sarasota veterans cemetery to establishing official VA cards for all veterans, Vern has never stopped fighting for active-duty service members, veterans and their families.”

The Veterans ID Card Act has been endorsed by AMVETS, the Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans for Common Sense and the Association of the U.S. Navy.