2022-2023 National Legislative Ambassador
Hello all you Legislative lads and ladies. I hope that you are having an enjoyable end to a productive year.
The biggest legislative event to take place recently was the midterm elections. I hope every single one of you voted and that you helped others to vote as well. Driving people to the polls, participating in a voter registration drive and letting people know where your state’s voter information website is are all reportable activities. Volunteering at the polls is reportable also but working at the polls is not. The difference is whether or not you are paid for your time. Reportable activities are done only out of the goodness of your heart.
Keep in mind that whether you voted for the winning candidate or not, we need to work with our elected officials to pass legislation that helps the military community of America, so please be civil and please make sure that people know that your feelings about candidates are yours personally and not the Auxiliary’s. Please remember that the VFW Auxiliary is a nonpartisan organization.
If you are sending out holiday cards, include local senators and representatives on your mailing list and invite them to events hosted by your Auxiliary or Post to help build a relationship and talk to them about bills and policies for veterans.
The current session of congress will end on January 3, 2023 and the new session will begin the same day. It appears likely that two VFW endorsed bills that I’ve kept my eye on, The Major Richard Star Act and the Afghan Adjustment Act, will expire at the end of the session.
The Star Act is summarized on congress.gov this way, “This bill provides that combat-disabled uniformed services retirees with fewer than 20 years of creditable service may concurrently receive, without reduction, veterans’ disability compensation and retired pay or combat-related special compensation.” It was introduced into the senate by Jon Tester (D-MT) and into the House by Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12). Let’s hear it for bipartisanship!! Those of you from Florida and Montana should find out when they will reintroduce the Star Act. Without the Star Act, disabled vets with less than 20 years of service have their retirement pay reduced a dollar for every dollar of disability they get. How messed up is that??
The Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA) is summarized like this, “This bill expands eligibility for special immigrant visas to certain Afghan nationals (and accompanying spouse and children.)” The Afghan citizens who were interpreters and fixers for US forces during the GWOT are the “certain Afghan nationals.” They may be tortured and executed for helping us and. We can’t let that happen to our friends.
The Senate sponsor is Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and the House sponsor is Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3). Those of you from Minnesota and Oregon should also make sure your elected leaders reintroduce the AAA when the new session starts.
I want to give a round of applause to Renell Noack, the Legislative chair of Ohio. She recently visited a local high school and talked about veterans’ issues and the importance of voting.
I really enjoy it when you send me pictures with your reports. Keep ‘em coming.
Finally, I want to thank you all for being my partners and friends as we work together to pass legislation that helps veterans.
Have a safe, meaningful and joyous December.