A bill to block the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from collecting money from the families of fallen service-members was introduced by Sen. a href=”http://capwiz.com/military/bio/?id=552″Kay Bailey Hutchison/a (R-TX) this week.br /”This bill is about honoring our fallen heroes by treating the families they left behind with dignity and by showing them we mean it when we tell them our nation is truly grateful,” said Sen. Hutchison in her January 22, 2008, press release.br /The Senator was alerted to this issue by the VA (thank you, VA), which according to current law is required to contact the family for collection if a member of our Armed Forces is killed and owes the VA any outstanding indebtedness. Once a service-member in these cases is killed, the VA must contact the families of the deceased and ask that they be reimbursed from the estate for that GI bill education payment. To date, the VA has sought to collect over $56,000 from 22 deceased soldiers.br /Although the current law does allow the VA Secretary some discretion for waiving certain cases, the bill, dubbed the “Combat Veterans Debt Elimination Act” would remove that discretion and forgive all debts that fall into this category.br /The a href=”http://capwiz.com/military/issues/bills/?bill=10847786″Combat Veterans Debt Elimination Act/a would remove the requirement for the VA to seek collection of such debt. If passed, the law would be retroactive to September 11, 2001.br /In an effort to fast track this legislation, Sen. Hutchison requested that the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders bypass the committee process and bring this legislation to the floor before another family suffers the indignity of the current law.br /Please! Contact your US Senators and ask/insist that they support both the bill and the fast-tracking.