VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY
July 29, 2011
In This Issue:
1. Veterans and Balancing the Budget
2. VFW Testifies on Vet Healthcare Bills
3. House VA Committee Hearings
4. Walter Reed Closes
5. Twelve WWII MIAs Identified
1. Veterans and Balancing the Budget:
During the ongoing debate on the debt crisis and balancing the budget, the VFW has reiterated our position adamantly opposing any Administration or Congressional proposal to deny or limit any health care program or benefit to eligible veterans or to increase fees on any program for veterans, service members, their families or survivors. During the crisis, a list of earned benefits has been discussed as a possible way to save money. This "10 for 10" plan - to cut 10 specific benefits to pay for 10 years of war - is a breach of faith with America's military and veteran families. In the coming days, the VFW will explain the details and repercussions of each proposed "10 for 10" cut on the VFW website, as well as continue to put pressure on Congress to ensure proposed fiscal reforms do not negatively affect troops, veterans or their families. Join the effort and make your voice heard by calling, writing, or e-mailing your members of Congress. To learn how, visit VFW's Capwiz page at http://capwiz.com/vfw/dbq/officials/
. To read our press release go here: http://stage.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/STOP-CONGRESS-FROM-PASSING-AMERICA-S-DEBT-ONTO-VETERANS/
2. VFW Testifies on Vet Health Bills:
Monday afternoon, the VFW testified before the House Veterans Affairs' Subcommittee on Health on seven pending bills addressing issues such as removing hurdles to care for veterans, improving services for those suffering from the invisible wounds of war, and ensuring that VA land is used to serve the mission of VA. To listen to the recorded webcast, visit the House VA Committee's website at http://veterans.house.gov
3. House VA Committee Clears Bills:
The House VA subcommittees had a busy week of mark-ups, clearing several VFW-supported bills. To include:
H.R. 1154, the Veterans Equal Treatment for Service Dogs Act which clarifies VA's regulation on service dogs and when they can be brought into a VA facility.
H.R. 1855, the Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitative Service Act would allow better TBI treatment by focusing on an injured veteran's independence and quality of life, while also maintaining improvements achieved while receiving treatment for physical, behavioral and mental health functioning.
H.R. 2074, the Veterans Sexual Assault Prevention Act would require VA to develop a comprehensive policy on reporting and tracking alleged sexual assault incidents at all VA facilities.
H.R.2530 provides for increased flexibility on rates for reimbursement of state veterans' homes by the VA for nursing home care provided to veterans.
Also on Thursday, The House VA Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations discussed contracting opportunities for veteran-owned small businesses. Recently, the O&I Subcommittee partnered with the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, Government Accountability Office, the VA Office of Inspector General and others in conducting an investigation into the certification process for service disabled veteran-owned small businesses, or SDVOSBs. OIG representative Belinda J. Finn commented on several investigations by both OIG and GAO that have identified fraud among not just companies but also individuals. VFW has testified on the process and believes that accountability and oversight by VA, as well as stricter, harsher penalties are what is needed to ensure true SDVOSBs have the opportunities to which they are entitled by law.
For more about the hearings or a list of the bills cleared, visit the House VA Committee website at: http://veterans.house.gov/
4. Walter Reed Closes:
Walter Reed Army Medical Center hosting its closing ceremonies Wednesday, casing the hospital colors and ending a storied 102-year history of outstanding medical service that couldn't escape the knife of a 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommendation. The hospital officially closes its doors for the final time in September when a new Walter Reed National Medical Center will stand up on the site of the current National Naval Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Md., and a new Army facility will also be opened in nearby Fort Belvoir, Md. Walter Reed's fate was sealed by growth limitations. The aging facility could not expand outwards because it is surrounded entirely by neighborhoods in the District of Columbia, and it could not build upwards because of the District's building height restrictions. Both the Bethesda campus and Fort Belvoir offered sufficient room to expand to accommodate modern hospital needs. To read more about closing ceremonies click here: http://www.army.mil/article/62517/McHugh__Walter_Reed_s_legacy_will_endure
5. Twelve WWII MIAs Identified: The Defense POW/MIA Office announced the identification of remains belonging to 12 Army Air Forces airmen, who had been missing-in-action since World War II. They are 1st Lt. Jack E. Volz from Indiana; 2nd Lts. Regis E. Dietz from Pennsylvania, Edward J. Lake from New York, Martin P. Murray from Massachusetts, and William J. Shryock from Indiana; Tech. Sgts. Robert S. Wren from Washington and Hollis R. Smith from Arkansas; and Staff Sgts. Berthold A. Chastain from Georgia, Clyde L. Green from Pennsylvania, Frederick E. Harris from Massachusetts, Claude A. Ray from Kansas and Claude G. Tyler from Maryland. On Oct. 27, 1943, the 12 crewmen took off in a B-24D Liberator from an airfield near Port Moresby, New Guinea, on a reconnaissance mission of shipping lanes in the Bismarck Sea. The aircraft failed to return to base.