October 4, 2013
 

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VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY

October 4, 2013





1. VFW Demands a Federal Budget be Passed: In a letter addressed yesterday to the President and House and Senate leadership, VFW National Commander Bill Thien demanded that they start working together to enact a federal budget now. He said the lack of a budget prevents countless veterans from taking advantage of transition assistance programs provided by the Departments of VA and Labor, plus it will increase the claims backlog and threatens to stop disability compensation and survivor benefit payments to millions of combat-wounded veterans and widows. The Chief also said the lack of a defense budget and the ongoing sequester is threatening national security. "We expect more from our elected leadership, and not a piecemeal approach that would use the military or disabled veterans as leverage in a political game," he said. "This current failure in Washington by the elected representatives of the people is having a very real impact on America, and as advocates for all veterans, military and their families, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States demands that Congress and the Administration stop the political gamesmanship and do the job you were elected to do." Read the Chief's full letter at http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/2013-Articles/VFW-Demands-a-Federal-Budget-Be-Passed/.
To find contact information for your elected official, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/dbq/officials/
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2. Shutdown Update on VA Services: Without House/Senate agreement on a budget/appropriations package, the VA continues to operate many services on a shuttered schedule. VA medical centers, clinics and other health services continue to operate as normal because of advance appropriations, but the Veterans Benefits Administration, which processes claims and provides payments for compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs, will run out of money by late October if Congress doesn't extend their mandatory funding appropriations for FY 2014. VFW continues to be updated by Congress and the VA and will pass along any information we receive. For a two-page Field Guide on the shutdown's impact on VA, go to http://www.va.gov/opa/appropriations_lapse_plan.asp.
To read more on the VA, veterans and the government shut down, visit our Capitol Hill blog at: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2013/10/government-shutdown-whats-at-stake-for.html
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3. VFW to Launch In-State Tuition Campaign: Next week your VFW will roll out its new #InState4Vets campaign alongside Student Veterans of America and the American Legion, pushing for in-state tuition protections for veterans enrolled at public colleges and universities from coast to coast. Be on the lookout as VFW, SVA and Legion unveil new tools to help veterans understand the higher education landscape in their homes states, ways to share stories through the Twitter hashtag #InState4Vets, and ways to take action both locally and nationally. VFW, SVA and the Legion plan to make the announcement next Wednesday, October 9. Check back with www.vfw.org for updates, and to learn more about the issue, click here: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2013/01/analysis-why-millermichaud-veterans.html
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4. Overseas Initiative Helps POW/MIA Mission: VFW National Commander Bill Thien returned this week from traveling to Moscow to continue our mission to help American researchers gain deeper access into Russia's central military archives and to potential eyewitnesses. It was a very productive trip that included meetings with the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission and American military assigned in Moscow, as well as with two of Russia's largest veterans' organization, and senior members of the Russian Federation Council and State Duma. From Russia, the Chief traveled to Italy to lay wreathes at the American Cemetery in Florence, and he met with senior officers and junior enlisted assigned to U.S. Army-Africa and the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, and the Air Force's 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano AB, to discuss how the VFW can better serve them and their families during the current budget crisis and sequester.
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5. Wounded Warrior Dinner Marks 10th Anniversary: VFW is a longtime sponsor of the Wounded Warrior Dinners, which have been held once a week since October 2003. The dinners used to be held at the old Fran O-Brien's Steakhouse inside the Capitol Hilton until a contract dispute closed the restaurant. Co-owner and VFW life member Hal Koster pledged to keep the dinners going until the wars ended. He created the nonprofit Aleethia Foundation to keep that promise, and in 2007, the VFW awarded him its Citizenship Award at its National Convention in Kansas City. VFW is proud to be a major co-sponsor of the 10th Anniversary Wounded Warrior Dinner tomorrow night near the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
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6. Four MIAs Recovered: The Defense POW/MIA Office announced the identification of remains belonging to two soldiers from the Korean War and to airmen from Vietnam. Recovered are:
     * Army Cpls. Harold A. Evans, 22, of Linsell, Minn., and Robert J. Tait, 19, of Bar Harbor, Maine. In late 1950, Evans was a member of Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, and Tait was a member of Headquarters Battery, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, both assigned to the 31st Regimental Combat Team, that was forced into a fighting withdrawal south of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. Evans was reported missing on Dec. 12, 1950. Tait was also reported missing, but in 1953 returning U.S. POWs said he had been captured but died shortly afterward due to lack of medical care and malnutrition.
     * Air Force Lt. Col. Robert E. Pietsch, 31, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Maj. Louis F. Guillermin, 25, of West Chester, Pa. On April 30, 1968, Guillermin and Pietsch were on an armed-reconnaissance mission over Savannakhet Province, Laos when their A-26A Invader aircraft crashed. Search and rescue efforts were unsuccessful.
Read more about their individual stories at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/.


Thanks to all our National Legislative Committee Members for a successful September meeting and for signing up over 725 new advocates to join our Action Corps team! Great job and keep up the good work!


As always, we want to share your advocacy stories on the VFW Capitol Hill blog. To share your stories, either fill out our online form by clicking here, http://www.vfw.org/Forms/Capitol-Hill-Blog-Submissions/, or simply email photos and stories directly to vfwac@vfw.org.

To sign up new veterans' advocates to receive the Washington Weekly every Friday, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm

 

© 2013-2015 VFW Post 1037, Waupaca, WI 54981