Skip to Content

Press Release

Rep. Castor Supports House Bills to Lower Costs and Increase Tampa Veterans’ Access to Education, Health Care

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) is taking action to lower costs and improve the lives of Tampa area veterans through support for H.R. 1836, the Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act and H.R. 4673, the Ensuring Veterans' Smooth Transition (EVEST) Act. Both bills passed the House with bipartisan support.

“The State of Florida is rich with veterans, including the Tampa Bay area which is home to the largest population of vets in the state. They deserve our support and I am proud Democrats are delivering for them. With these bills, the Democratic House takes another strong step to make sure our nation honors all servicemembers with the benefits they were promised and rightfully deserve,” said Rep. Castor.

The GI Parity Act helps ensure that members of the National Guard and Reserve, who often serve side-by-side with their Active Duty counterparts yet do not currently receive the same access to vital G.I. bill benefits, are honored with the benefits they have earned and deserve. 

“Active duty and Reserve service members serve side-by-side, often doing the same jobs and incurring the same risks, but receive different pay and benefits.  We believe that every day that someone serves in uniform should count toward their benefits. I am proud to have voted for legislation that takes an important step toward ensuring that the sacrifice of all members is honored appropriately through earned equal access to the GI bill, including almost 40,000 Florida National Guard Members and reserves in Florida. With this bipartisan bill, we are one step closer to making it a reality and ensuring that every day in uniform counts,” Castor continued.

The EVEST Act ensures that veterans do not fall through the cracks by automatically enrolling all eligible veterans into VA health care services.

“The last thing that returning servicemembers should have to worry about is cutting through red tape to access health care. Instead of requiring veterans eligible for VA health care to enroll in care through online, phone or in-person services, our legislation will automatically enroll them in care. This will ensure that Tampa area veterans can quickly access services at our incredible Haley VA and have one less to-do item as they return to civilian life. This is one commonsense step to serve our veterans as well as they serve us. Experts say that automatic enrollment can truly help service members with PTSD and reduce the rates of death by suicide.

“I am proud that the Congress could come together on a bipartisan basis to serve the needs of our veterans. Our colleagues in the Senate should follow suit and swiftly take up these bills to better the lives of the over 1.5 million Florida veterans and others across the nation,” Castor finished.