November 8, 2013
 

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VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY

November 8, 2013





1. Veterans Day 2013: America celebrates Veterans Day on Monday, and so will VFW members and Posts nationwide. In the nation's capital, VFW National Commander Bill Thien and his wife, Linda, will have breakfast with the president in the White House along with other veteran and military service organization leaders, and then head over to Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Joining them at Arlington and at The Wall will be VFW Ladies Auxiliary National President Sissy Borel, who along with the Chief is in town for the VFW Eastern Conference this weekend.
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2. VFW Joins Senate Press Conference on Veterans: On Wednesday your VFW joined leaders from the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans for a press conference hosted by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., where the veterans' community called on Congress to pass critical veterans' reforms by the end of the calendar year. Some of the issues discussed included veterans' in-state tuition, care for military sexual assault victims, employment opportunities and VA construction. To learn more about the press conference, click here: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2013/11/vfw-joins-senate-press-conference-on.html
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3. Military Compensation Commission Update: The VFW appeared before the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission on Tuesday. It was the first of many public hearings the nine-member commission will host around the country to listen to the concerns of the military, veteran, and military retiree communities as it pertains to how our troops are compensated while in uniform, in retirement, and as veterans. Everything is on the table, to include those programs operated by the VA and Department of Labor, according to Commission officials. Among the compensation and Quality of Life programs under review are the 20-year retirement system; military pay and allowances, to include the tax-exempt status of BAH, BAS, hazardous duty and combat pay; concurrent receipt of retiree and disability pay; Tuition Assistance and the Post-9/11 and Montgomery GI Bills; military healthcare and Tricare; PCS tour lengths; and transition and employment assistance programs, among many others. To the VFW, this is a serious attempt to balance the budget on the backs of military families, retirees and veterans through an erosion of pay and benefits that will negatively impact recruiting and retention, and possibly threaten the continued viability of the All-Volunteer Military. According to Resolution 411, passed this year at the 114th VFW National Convention in Louisville, the VFW vigorously opposes the further erosion of military pay and benefits, increased Tricare fees, deductibles and co-pays, and all efforts to civilianize the military retirement system. The Commission is required to issue their report to the White House by May 1, 2014. For more information or to leave a public comment on their website, go to http://www.mcrmc.gov/
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4. VA Celebrates One Million Post-9/11 GI Bill Veterans: This week VA announced that one million veterans have now enrolled in college using their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. VA recognized Army veteran Steven Ferraro of Edison, N.J., as the one millionth Post-9/11 GI Bill recipient when he enrolled at Middlesex County College this fall. Your VFW helped to commission the Post-9/11 GI Bill and has worked diligently to ensure student veterans have proper consumer resources, and are academically and financially prepared for college. To learn more about Ferraro and VFW's continued work to ensure student veteran success, click here: : http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2013/11/va-celebrates-one-million-post-911-gi.html
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5. CRPD Update: On Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities or CRPD. The treaty, which has been ratified by 138 countries, would bring other countries up to US standards on the treatment of those with disabilities. Mirroring the Americans with Disabilities Act, ratification would improve the quality of life and offer more opportunities for those in the disability community. The treaty is supported by a consortium of advocates to include Senator Robert Dole, General Colin Powell, VFW and others within the veterans' community. Last Congress, it failed by a margin of 6 votes needed for ratification. VFW believes that ratifying the treaty will help the United States lead in the effort to give every disabled person, to include 5.5 million veterans, the opportunity to live, work, learn, and travel without undue barriers. For more about CRPD, to include the hearing testimony and remarks, click here: http://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities.
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6. VFW Joins Labor Salute to Veterans: On Wednesday your VFW was at the Department of Labor for the agency's annual Salute to Veterans. Labor Secretary Tom Perez hosted a panel discussion on transitioning from military life to the civilian job market, featuring prominent personalities from the veterans' community like Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer who shared his personal experiences and discussed ways veterans can take proactive steps to help ease their individual transitions back to civilian life. Labor also premiered two public service announcements featuring prominent celebrity veterans R. Lee Ermey and Montel Williams. To learn more about the panel discussion and to see photos from the event, click here: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2013/11/vfw-joins-labors-salute-to-veterans.html
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7. Never Another Homeless Veteran Campaign Launched: Earlier this week, the National Alliance to End Homelessness was joined by the Home Depot and the veterans' community to launch their "Never Another Homeless Veteran Campaign." Ending homelessness among veterans is an achievable goal. Veteran homelessness has declined nearly 17 percent since 2009, and with continued funding and support, we can continue to work towards our goal of finding every veteran safe housing and access to needed services. To join the effort, sign the Never Another Homeless Veteran statement at: http://www.neveranotherhomelessveteran.org/site/SignTheStatement
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8. Agency Accepting Payday Loan Complaints: The Consumer Protection Bureau is giving consumers a chance to voice their complaints with payday lending products or loans. CFPB is now accepting complaints from borrowers encountering problems with payday loans. Payday loans are often describes as a way for consumers to bridge a cash flow shortage between pay checks. They can offer quick access to credit, but often come at a high cost. Many of these "storefront " lenders have sprung up in the last 20 years, often close to military bases --CFPB released a report that found payday products can lead to a cycle of indebtedness among many borrows. To submit a complaint, go online at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint or call toll free at 1-855-411-2372 of TTY/TDD phone number at 1-855-729-2372.


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

 

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