News from Representative Luria

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Dear Andrew,

 

Happy Thanksgiving! As always, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you, and I am excited to tell you about this past week in Congress. From investigating a public safety issue at local schools to advocating for our veterans, there is so much to tell you. Keep reading for a recap.

 

Preventing a Government Shutdown

 

Two months ago, the Senate’s inability to get to work forced us to pass short-term government spending legislation. Now, we are in the same situation.

 

Last week, I voted for legislation to fund the government through December 20, temporarily averting another government shutdown. Despite voting for this short-term spending bill, I voiced my strong preference for an orderly and responsible budgeting process that creates certainty for the military and the Hampton Roads regional economy.

In Hampton Roads, short-term spending harms our local naval operations, shipbuilding industries, and workforce. I urge the Senate to immediately pass its spending bills so we can pass a bill that fully funds the government.

 

Protecting Our Children and Educators

 

Earlier this month, media outlets reported that dozens of instances of elevated lead levels were found at local schools

 

After hearing these reports, I sent a letter to top education and city officials in Virginia Beach about the presence of lead in drinking water in local schools, the delay in notifying the public, and the distribution of information that may have created a false sense of safety.

 

The discovery of the presence of lead in drinking water at local schools is an issue of utmost concern. After hearing from school system leadership, I feel that all appropriate parties are engaged and their level of attention gives me confidence that we're all connected on this issue. We all share the same priority of ensuring that our students and teachers are safe. I look forward to working with local city and school officials to find solutions. Schools must provide clean drinking water and students and parents have a right to be notified when potential health hazards arise. 

 

To view my letter, please click here

 

Empowering Women Veterans

 

I enjoyed co-hosting a briefing with Congressman Al Lawson (FL-05) about challenges that women veterans experience as they transition to civilian life. 

 

During the briefing, I spoke about the House-passed Deborah Sampson Act, which would help women veterans transitioning to civilian life by creating equitable access to health care, housing, legal services, and other resources and benefits. I also discussed the prevalence of sexual harassment in the military and how it is a strong predictor of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Lastly, I emphasized the importance of promoting diversity at veteran service organizations (VSOs) as more women enter the armed forces.

 

The transition from active duty to civilian life poses unique challenges for every woman veteran. Congress needs to stay vigilant and continue helping them with the process at every step of the way.

 

Combating Scam Calls

 

Fraudulent calls that mislead victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security problems have become the top type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission and the Social Security Administration. 

 

To combat these scams, the Social Security Administration launched a website to allow people to report these scams. This website will analyze the data from reported submissions to  identify and reduce such fraudulent behavior. To visit the website, click here

 

Please know that Social Security will never call you to tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended, contact you to demand a payment without the ability to appeal the amount you owe, or promise benefit increases in exchange for information or money.

 

Fighting for Student Veterans

 

Last Tuesday, I questioned top VA officials in a hearing at the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. The hearing focused on VA's failed implementation of reforms to student housing benefits under the 2017 Forever G.I. Bill.

 

Due to its outdated IT systems, VA failed to implement reforms to housing assistance benefits in time. This resulted in many student veterans receiving incorrect benefits and delayed payments for the 2018-19 school year. Throughout the hearing, I held officials accountable for this failure by pressing for details about how many students received insufficient benefits and the dollar amount that VA had underpaid them. Additionally, I was able to confirm that VA will not hold student veterans responsible for repaying benefits if VA erroneously overpaid them.

 

As a Navy veteran, I will take every opportunity to stand up and fight so our American heroes have a seamless path to the meaningful futures they deserve. The Forever G.I. Bill is an important part of that process, and the VA needs to get it right for every veteran.

 

ImageI joined Congressman Bobby Scott, Congressman Donald McEachin, and local leaders for the 16th annual turkey giveaway that helped more than 2,000 families. What a generous and wonderful way to celebrate our Hampton Roads community ahead of Thanksgiving! 

 

ImageIt was great to attend India Fest 2019 last weekend in Virginia Beach.

 

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Last Monday, I joined Congressmen Bobby Scott and Rob Wittman at the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce's Congressional Forum to discuss how to improve our local economy. Virginians can be proud that our delegation works together to deliver what’s best for our Commonwealth.

 
 

It was a pleasure telling you about my week, and I wish you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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I hope that you will take some time to read the news articles below. 

It’s the honor of my lifetime to serve you and Virginia’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. As always, you have my word that I will continue working hard each day, and I welcome your thoughts!

Sincerely,

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