United States Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs

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The United States Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs deals with oversight of United States veterans issues.


The committee was created in 1970 to transfer responsibilities for veterans from the Finance and Labor committees to a single panel. From 1947 to 1970, matters relating to veterans compensation and veterans generally were referred to the Committee on Finance, while matters relating to the vocational rehabilitation, education, medical care, civil relief, and civilian readjustment of veterans were referred to the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare.[1]

Congressional legislation affecting veterans changed over the years. For the members of the armed forces and their families in the nation's early wars – the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War and the Spanish–American War – the response of the federal government had been essentially financial. This was clearly the legislative mission of the Senate Committee on Pensions which was created as one of the Senate's original standing committees in 1816 and continued until its termination in the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946.[1]

During World War I the nature of the congressional response to veterans' needs changed towards a more diversified set of programs. A war risk insurance program, which was referred to the Senate Finance Committee, changed the consideration of veterans benefits in the Senate. The Finance Committee was the Senate standing committee most responsible for veterans programs from 1917 to 1946. After World War II, the Finance Committee handled the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, the GI Bill of Rights, which extended to servicemen and their families, a number of benefits including unemployment assistance, education, vocational training, housing and business loan guarantees, as well as the traditional medical and pension benefits of previous times. Many experts believe this law was one of the most important elements in the expansion of the middle class following World War II.[1]

The Veterans' Affairs Committee had nine members in its initial congress, the 92nd Congress (1971–73). It now has a total of 17 members.[1]

Members, 116th Congress

Majority Minority

According to committee members' official online biographies, three of the fourteen members are veterans: Richard Blumenthal, Dan Sullivan and Johnny Isakson.

Previous Congresses

Members, 110th Congress

Majority Minority

Members, 111th Congress

Majority Minority

Source: 2009 Congressional Record, Vol. 155, Page S5168 and 2010 Congressional Record, Vol. 156, Page S970

Members, 112th Congress

Majority Minority

Source: 2011 Congressional Record, Vol. 157, Page S557

Members, 113th Congress

Majority Minority

Source: 2013 Congressional Record, Vol. 159, Page S296 to 297

Members, 114th Congress

Majority Minority

Source: [3]

115th Congress

Majority Minority


Chairmen of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 1971–present

Name Party State Years
Vance Hartke Democratic Indiana 1971–1977
Alan Cranston Democratic California 1977–1981
Alan K. Simpson Republican Wyoming 1981–1985
Frank Murkowski Republican Alaska 1985–1987
Alan Cranston Democratic California 1987–1993
Jay Rockefeller Democratic West Virginia 1993–1995
Alan K. Simpson Republican Wyoming 1995–1997
Arlen Specter Republican Pennsylvania 1997–2001
Jay Rockefeller Democratic West Virginia 2001–2003
Arlen Specter Republican Pennsylvania 2003–2005
Larry Craig Republican Idaho 2005–2007
Daniel Akaka Democratic Hawaii 2007–2011
Patty Murray Democratic Washington 2011–2013
Bernie Sanders Independent Vermont 2013–2015
Johnny Isakson Republican Georgia 2015–present

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "About | United States Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs". United States Senate. Retrieved April 7, 2017. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ a b c d e Bernie Sanders is an Independent, but caucuses with Democrats on the committee.
  3. ^ "Committee on Veterans' Affairs Members, 2015-2016". Ballotpedia. Ballotpedia.
  4. ^ "U.S. Senate: Committee on Veterans' Affairs". www.senate.gov. Retrieved January 8, 2017.

External links

  • United States Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs (Archive)
  • Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. Legislation activity and reports, Congress.gov.
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