2019-2020 National Legislative Ambassador
Our nation’s capital is known for its beautiful cherry tree blossoms. We got to see a few cherry trees beginning to bloom while attending the recent VFW Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. National VFW Auxiliary and Department leaders as well as members from all across the country came to accompany VFW National and Department leaders and members in an effort to lobby our legislators on behalf of veterans, service members and their families. The VFW 2020 Priority Goals and VFW Talking Points provided information to congressional members regarding our veterans’ issues and were helpful for clarity and to safeguard passage of key legislation.
Another high point of the conference was the VFW Commander-in-Chief William “Doc” Schmitz’s testimony before the joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees. It was wonderful to see that the room was overflowing with supportive VFW and Auxiliary members.
Key legislation addressed on Capitol Hill are as follows and your support is needed.
I encourage you to make your voice heard with your representative and advocate for your veterans’ rights by calling or emailing them. When writing an email make sure to be brief, polite and draw on your personal experience to make your point. Remember, no personal visits at this time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- R. 5610, Fair Care for Vietnam Veterans Act, which would add bladder cancer, hypertension, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism to the list of presumptive conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange.
- S. 785, Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019, which would provide VA the authorities it needs to expand suicide prevention efforts.
- Pass S. 514/H.R. 3224, Deborah Sampson Act and S. 319, Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2019.
- R. 5739, Blast Exposure Protection Act of 2020, which would establish a presumption of service connection for disabilities associated with blast exposures.
- R. 5995, the Major Richard Star Act, which would enable Chapter 61 veterans who have been discharged due to combat-related injuries to be entitled to DOD longevity payment and VA disability compensation without offset.
- Note: On March 19th, 2020 the VFW joined its Military Coalition partners, a consortium of uniformed services and veterans’ associations representing more than 5.5 million current and former service members, their families, and survivors, in writing a letter to express support for H.R. 5995 and S. 3393, the Major Richard Star Act.
- R. 444, Reduce Unemployment for Veterans of All Ages Act of 2019, which would remove the 12-year limit on utilizing the VR&E program, so veterans can use it for life.
- R. 2326, Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William “Bill” Mulder (Ret.) Transition Improvement Act of 2019, which was passed by the House on May 22, 2019, and would: Reopen TAP in the community programs for veterans.
VFW Action Corp Weekly E-Newsletter
In addition to advocating for our veterans, service members and their families, remember anytime is a good time to sign up members, your family and friends or other interest parties for the VFW Action Corp Weekly e-newsletter. It is free and contains important information and alerts on veteran’s issues.
COVID-19 Social Isolation Does Not Have to Lead to Loneliness:
The VFW calls on the community to reach out to veterans and their caregivers by using technology to ensure no one is alone during the pandemic.
- #BeThere can be as simple as making a phone call, text message, or for the more tech-savvy individuals, video chat, email,
- Alternatively, a Netflix Party, as Comcast is giving two months of internet service to disabled veterans and low-income individuals.
- Discussion topics can include:
- The status of their physical and mental well-being, review the checklist of COVID-19 symptoms,
- The state of their supplies, or a recommendation for a good book, TV show or movie.
- Remember to follow-up in a day or two to keep that connection going.
- VFW Posts can stay connected virtually through online meeting programs or conference calls.
- A conversation can break up the mundane day and provide a sense of connection to the outside world.
“Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thank you for “Serving Our Veterans with Aloha”