Bill to aid homeless veterans moves forward

WASHINGTON – A bill aimed at making sure shelters used by homeless veterans meet building codes has advanced in the House of Representatives.

The Safe Housing for Homeless Veterans Act sponsored by Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., was passed in the Committee on Veterans Affairs and will go to the House floor this fall.

McKinley said he visited shelters in the 1st Congressional District and found many were not in compliance with building codes.

In other congressional news, the inspector general of the Department of Transportation will study the Federal Highway Administration management of programs ensuring bridge safety. The audit was requested by Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., after the collapse of a bridge in Washington.

Rahall is the ranking Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“Thousands of bridges across the country are carrying loads that they were not designed to accommodate and are in use well beyond their life expectancy,” he said.

The audit will examine how federal and state agencies have responded to deficiencies cited in previous assessments of bridge safety programs. Rahall this year introduced the S.A.F.E. Bridges Act to provide funding for states to address deficient highway bridges.

In the Senate, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has asked President Obama asking him to expedite issuing new regulations to further protect miners from Black Lung.

“We must act now before we lose more West Virginia coal miners to this disease,” he said.

Rockefeller cited the need for regulations protecting miners from dust and expressed frustration at the delay of rules to regulate proximity detectors in coal mines that would lessen the risk of miners’ being crushed by equipment underground.