November 30, 2012
 

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VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY

November 30, 2012





1. President Signs COLA: This week, the President signed into law the cost-of-living adjustment bill for disabled veterans and surviving spouses. The bill, H.R. 4114, increases compensation for veterans' beneficiaries at the same percentage given Social Security and military retiree pay recipients. The 1.7-percent increase is tied to the consumer price index, or CPI, and is scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 1. To read our blog posting regarding COLA click here: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2012/11/breaking-president-signs-veterans-cola.html
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2. NDAA Update: This week, the Senate began debating their version (S. 3254) of the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill, S. 3254 contains hundreds of amendments to include caps on TRICARE Pharmacy copays, increased access to mental health providers in VA and DOD, a comprehensive suicide prevention program, and standardizing service training to provide consistent educational credit for service members. The Senate plans to work through the weekend to complete work on their bill by Monday. The bill will then have to be reconciled with the House version before final passage. Stay tuned for more updates from the Washington Weekly, and check the blog next week for progress. http://thevfw.blogspot.com.
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3. VFW Discusses Best Practices for Student-Vets: This week the VFW joined leaders from several private sector colleges, as well as other leading veterans' advocates at the National World War I Memorial in Kansas City to discuss best practices for service student-veterans in higher education as part of a Blue Ribbon Taskforce on Veterans Education, commissioned by the Association for Private Sector Colleges and Universities, or APSCU. Private sector colleges, commonly referred to as "for-profit" schools, have been under the microscope over the last two years because of allegations of bad practices by some schools within the sector related to veterans. Unfortunately, that scrutiny has led to whispers on Congress to scale back GI Bill benefits. The VFW has worked to bring leaders in higher education together to protect the GI Bill, and the taskforce is one of the latest steps to do just that. To learn more about the taskforce and this week's meeting, click here: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2012/11/vfw-joins-private-sector-schools-to.html
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4. PSA Encourages Women Vets to Use VA: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed a nationwide PSA to let women veterans know that they have come to "The Right Place" when seeking health care at VA. The PSA is available on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5FGlZ2uYiU and at the VA website at www.womenshelath.va.gov The number of women using VA health care has doubled in the past ten years and is expected to double again in the next 5 years. The 30-second video was produced by the VA Women's Health Services office and addresses key issues addressed by Secretary Shinseki.
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5. House Committee Discusses VA Conference Expenses: This week, VFW attended a House Veterans Affairs' Committee hearing regarding VA's conference budget and expenses. The hearing was a follow-up to questions submitted to VA by Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) and Ranking Member Bob Filner (D-CA) asking for clarification of VA's total conference spending for this year and prior years, as well as a breakdown of all individual conferences. To watch the recorded webcast of the hearing click here: http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/va-conference-spending-accountability
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