Alaska U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola’s first bill passes House, reintroduces slate of Young’s bills


It’s been less than a month than since Alaska US Rep. Mary Peltola was sworn in to fill the remainder of the late US Rep. Don Young’s time in Congress and she’s already seen her first bill pass the House.

Last week, ahead of the fall break, the House voted 375-49 to approve the Peltola’s legislation, The Food Security for all Veterans Act, which establishes the Office of Food Security within the Department of Veterans Affairs. The office would be intended to help guide veterans and their families experiencing food insecurity to available resources.

“I rise today to speak on a topic of vital importance to my state, where veterans comprise about 10% of the population, and I know many veterans who face food insecurity,” Peltola said during the floor debate on the measure last week, adding that food insecurity among veterans and military families created a long list of problems for those families and their children. “I know this bill will not solve the problem entirely, but I believe it can help Alaska and throughout the country.”

The legislation was among a slate of several measures aimed at helping veterans and military members. The opposition to Peltola’s legislation came from the Republican Freedom Caucus.

Following the passage of the legislation, Peltola’s office announced she had reintroduced eight bills that were sponsored by the late Rep. Don Young.

“I’m honored to be able to continue Don’s legacy by bringing attention back to these important pieces of legislation,” said Peltola in a prepared statement. “We shared many of the same views on policies that are important to Alaskans, and I will work tirelessly to see these bills through the House.”

Here’s a summary of the reintroduced legislation that the Peltola office sent out with its announcement:

  • A bill to amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to establish a United States Ambassador at Large for Artic Affairs.
  • A bill to amend title 54, United States Code, to authorize the provision of technical assistance under the Preserve America Program and to direct the Secretary of the Interior to enter into partnerships with communities adjacent to units of the National Park System to leverage local cultural heritage tourism assets.
  • A bill to permit under certain conditions the transportation of passengers between the State of Alaska and other United States ports on vessels not qualified to engage in the coastwise trade that transport more than 1,000 passengers.
  • A bill to require the Secretary of Agriculture to allow infant food combinations and dinners as WIC-eligible foods.
  • A bill to provide for the recognition of certain Alaska Native communities and the settlement of certain claims under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
  • A bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior to establish a demonstration program to adapt the successful practice of providing foreign aid to underdeveloped economies to the provision of Federal economic development assistance to Native communities in similarly situated remote areas in the United States.
  • A bill to remove the 4-year sunset from the Pro bono Work to Empower and Represent Act of 2018.
  • A bill to make permanent the authority of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to make grants for the transportation of highly rural veterans to medical care.

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