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VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY

June 17, 2011



In This Issue:
1. House VA Committee Hearings
2. VA Funding Bill Cleared
3. VFW Joins Minority Leadership Roundtable
4. Korean War MIA Identified
5. Vietnam War MIA Identified


1. House VA Committee Hearings: The House VA Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on Monday in response to a recent GAO report on sexual assaults at VA facilities. Testifying on behalf of the VFW was Marlene Roll, the Director of New York's Erie County Veterans Service Agency and a member of VFW's National Women Veterans' Committee. She told committee members that VA must move swiftly to address the many problems identified in the report. She also said the VA does not have a clear and consistent definition of sexual assault. VFW regards sexual assault as a zero tolerance issue. Read the VFW press release with links to testimony at http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/VFW-CALLS-SEXUAL-ASSAULT-A-ZERO-TOLERANCE-ISSUE--/. * On Tuesday, the Health Subcommittee held a hearing on gaps in VA's mental health system that remain in the military community, as well as the problems that exist in the VA system when it comes to dealing with the mental wellness of servicemembers. The committee heard testimony from Daniel J. Hanson, an OIF veteran from Minnesota, who spoke of the many difficult personal challenges he experienced after separating from the Marines. Read more on the House VA Committee website at http://veterans.house.gov/


2. VA Funding Bill Cleared: The House passed a $128 billion (FY 2012) Military Construction/VA Appropriations bill this week which provides VA $2.4 billion more than last year. It also includes $52.5 billion in Advanced Appropriations for FY 2013 medical care, and a VFW-supported amendment that would provide $20 million to expand VA's suicide prevention social media outreach program. VFW is disappointed that the bill is $2 billion less than what the four Independent Budget coauthors recommended for VA construction funding. We are concerned that the shortfall will further delay the many projects currently under construction, as well as those being planned. We look to the Senate to increase major and minor construction accounts when they take up the bill in the coming weeks. For a summary of the bill, go to http://appropriations.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=246466.


3. VFW Joins Minority Leadership Roundtable: On Wednesday, VFW National Legislative Director Ray Kelley joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other congressional and military/VSO leaders to discuss veterans' issues at the U.S. Capitol. During his remarks, Kelley called on Pelosi and her colleagues in the House Minority to push for the passage of the Hiring Heroes Act, H.R. 1941, which was recently introduced in the House by Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) as a companion bill to S. 941, introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). The VFW strongly supports the Hiring Heroes Act, which would extend Chapter 31 (VocRehab) benefits for disabled veterans who have exhausted unemployment benefits, streamline the federal hiring process for separating servicemembers, and make Transition Assistance Program attendance mandatory. Tell your representatives in Congress to support the Hiring Heroes Act by visiting http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert/?alertid=48351501


4. Korean War MIA Identified: The Defense POW/MIA Office announced the identification of remains belonging to Army Cpl. A.V. Scott, 27, of Detroit. On Feb. 12, 1951, Scott's unit, the 503rd Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, was supplying friendly forces approximately 70 miles east of Seoul, South Korea, when Chinese Communist units attacked the area and forced a withdrawal. Scott was captured by enemy forces and later died in a North Korean POW camp. Read more at http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=14566.


5. Vietnam War MIA Identified: TheDefense POW/MIA Office also announced the identification of remains belonging to Air Force 1st Lt. David A. Thorpe of Seneca Falls, N.Y. On Oct. 3, 1966, Thorpe's C-130E cargo aircraft, with four other men aboard, failed to arrive at Nha Trang AB following their departure from Tan Son Nhut AB in South Vietnam. Read more at http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=14582.

Home    Upcoming Events    Links of Interest    Ladies Auxiliary
Webmaster    Newsletters    VFW Documents    VFW NSFA Updates
Agent Orange    Contact Us    Stories    Friends of the Post
Let Them Not Go In Silence    Photo Gallery    Flag Rules and Regulations
Listen Up!: Commander’s Message    Freedom is NEVER Free!