Action Corps Weekly – October 23, 2015
In This Issue:
1. President Vetoes NDAA
2. VA Primary Care Oversight Hearing
3. Veterans Education Oversight Hearing
4. House Holds OIG Report Hearing
5. Two MIAs Recovered
1. President Vetoes NDAA: As expected, President Obama vetoed the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Thursday because it kept sequestration in place and blocked his ability to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The $611.9 billion defense bill contained a number of VFW-supported provisions ranging from an enhanced military retirement system and the repeal of the 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment penalty on new retirees, as well as keeping the Guantanamo facility open, which is supported by VFW National Resolution. The bill also contained provisions that the VFW opposed, such as the gradual reduction of military housing allowances. Ending sequestration is the VFW’s top legislative goal, as it directly impacts military readiness and could affect all discretionary-funded programs that are provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies with veterans-oriented programs, such as Labor. Congress has the authority to override the veto should there be a two-thirds majority vote. The House is expected to vote on it Nov. 5. Stay tuned to the Action Corps Weekly for updates on this important bill.
2. VA Primary Care Oversight Hearing: On Thursday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing to discuss a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that found VA lacks reliable data to properly determine the size and need of primary care panels. The GAO also found that VA lacks the proper quality assurance mechanisms to ensure the accuracy of self-reported data. Committee members discussed how VA can increase efficiency and access to primary care. VA described how its unique patient-centric medical home model of primary care delivery has improved the primary care it provides veterans. To view a video of the hearing, visit: http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/evaluating-va-primary-care-delivery-workload-and-cost.
3. Veterans Education Oversight Hearing: Yesterday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held a hearing on VA’s Vet Success on Campus (VSOC) initiative. The program, which stations VA counselors at 94 schools across the country, is aimed at providing on-campus benefits assistance and career guidance to GI Bill beneficiaries. The VFW supported the establishment of VSOC. Although the subcommittee largely praised the program, they also uncovered significant opportunities for improvement, such as keeping VSOC counselors at the same schools longer for continuity purposes and ensuring that VSOC counselors are not tasked with additional duties by VA Regional Offices. To watch a video of the hearing, click here: http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/a-review-of-va-s-vetsuccess-on-campus-program.
4. House Holds OIG Report Hearing: On Wednesday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing entitled, “An Examination of the VA Office of Inspector General’s Final Report on the Inappropriate Use of Position and the Misuse of the Relocation Program and Incentives.” To watch the full hearing, click here: http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/an-examination-of-the-va-office-of-inspector-general-s-final-report-on-the-inappropriate-use.
5. Two MIAs Recovered: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains of two soldiers who had been missing in action since World War II and Korea. Being returned home for burial with full military honors are:
– Army Pvt. John H. Klopp, 25, from New Orleans, La., was declared missing while fighting on Papua New Guinea on Dec. 5, 1942. He was assigned to the 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division.
– Army Sgt. 1st Class Dean D. Chaney, from Ohio, was declared missing while fighting in North Korea on Nov. 28, 1950. It would be later learned he had been captured, but died in a POW camp. He was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.