Thursday, June 21, 2018

Vet realtor pulls alarm on plan to fund ‘blue water’ Navy bill

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s plan to pay for a bill to extend Agent Orange disability benefits to 90,000 “blue water” Navy veterans of the Vietnam War — by raising funding fees under the Department of Veterans Affairs guaranty home loan program — will not continue to shield all disabled veterans from a funding fee, as the committee claimed last month as it cleared the bill for consideration of the full House.
The charge is made by “G2” Varrato II, a Phoenix Realtor, Air Force retiree, and director of the Veterans Association for Real Estate Professionals (VAREP) for the state of Arizona. The committee does not dispute Varrato’s argument that veterans with disabilities rated below 100 percent would see their waiver of a VA loan funding fee disappear if they use their benefit on mortgages that exceed the Freddie Mac conforming loan limit, a program expansion the committee bill allows.
Every major veteran service organization publicly endorsed the committee’s amended version of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act (HR 299), which includes a new strategy to cover the bill’s $1 billion estimated cost for expanding Agent Orange-related benefits by charging slightly higher VA home loan funding fees and making other changes to the VA loan program.
It’s unclear now whether advocacy groups understood that certain disabled veterans, those with VA ratings below 100 percent, would be hit with their first VA home loan funding fees ever if they were to take advantage of the jumbo long feature.

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