Aug 15

President to Speak Wednesday at VFW Convention

WASHINGTON, Aug. 15, 2008–President George W. Bush has accepted an invitation to speak Wednesday at the 109th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.

The annual convention by America’s oldest major veterans’ organization starts tomorrow at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. The event is not open to the public.

"It is a time-honored tradition for our nation’s leader to address the national convention of America’s oldest major veterans’ organization and the nation’s largest organization of combat veterans,” said VFW National Commander George J. Lisicki, a Vietnam veteran from Carteret, N.J. “We are grateful to President Bush for taking the time to speak to us on issues that are vitally important to our nation.”

Approximately 10,000 VFW and Ladies Auxiliary delegates will represent the 2.2 million-member organization at the weeklong convention to approve new national priorities to guide the organization as it lobbies Congress on issues important to the nation’s 23.5 million veterans, 2.2 million servicemembers, and their families.

Read more

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/president-to-speak-wednesday-at-vfw-convention/

Aug 15

McCain, Obama to Address VFW National Convention

WASHINGTON, Aug. 15, 2008–The two presumptive presidential candidates have accepted invitations to speak next week to the 109th national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., which starts tomorrow at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. The event is not open to the public.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is scheduled to speak on Monday, followed by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Tuesday.

The appearance of both presidential candidates continues a long standing VFW tradition to provide a platform for those seeking the nation’s highest office to address America’s oldest major veterans’ organization, even though the VFW is prohibited from offering endorsements.

“For the candidates, this is their opportunity to address the national convention of America’s oldest major veterans' organization and the nation's largest organization of combat veterans,” said VFW National Commander George J. Lisicki, a Vietnam veteran from Carteret, N.J.

“What the VFW membership wants to know is how each candidate would prosecute the war on terrorism and protect America through strong national defense and homeland security programs. We also want to know how they would enhance military and veteran healthcare programs, benefits, and Quality of Life initiatives.”

Read more National Convention Preview

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/mccain-obama-to-address-vfw-national-convention/

Aug 15

VFW Washington Weekly – August 14, 2008

In This Issue

NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE SERVICE
1. Congress on Recess

NATIONAL SECURITY & FOREIGN AFFAIRS
1. WWII MIA Identified
2. Reserve Component Mobilization

NATIONAL VETERANS SERVICE
1. American Airlines Drops Third Bag Fee

NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE SERVICE

1. Congress on Recess: Congress is on recess for the month of August and will return to Washington on Sept. 9 to finish up funding bills and other legislation that remain unresolved.  Bills that await final action include VA Funding (passed out of the House only), Defense initiatives, and several veteran-related bills that expand healthcare and benefits for veterans and their families. Now is the time to visit your legislators in their district offices to discuss issues important to the VFW.  It is an election year for the entire House and one-third of the Senate, so they should be willing to talk with you about what is important for America's veterans, servicemembers and families.

To find your elected officials, go to:
http://capwiz.com/vfw/dbq/officials/
For a list of VFW Priority Goals, go to:
http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=caphill.leveld&did=3694

Read more Washington Weekly

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-august-14-2008/

Aug 11

VFW Wants Military Exempt From Airline Baggage Fees

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8, 2008–A Texas newspaper article last week about an airline charging a young soldier heading to Iraq $100 for a third piece of luggage has prompted the national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars to ask an airline trade association for help to establish a set baggage policy for all military personnel traveling on official orders.

In a letter sent today, [Read Letter] George J. Lisicki asked the Air Transport Association to negotiate an agreement with its member airlines to exempt military personnel traveling on official orders from paying baggage fees on a third piece of luggage.

All major U.S. carriers currently waive baggage fees for up to two bags for military traveling under orders. However, a $100 fee for checking a third bag appears to be the industry norm, unless you are flying first class or are an elite frequent flyer.

“I completely understand the financial constraints the airline industry is in,” wrote Lisicki, a Vietnam combat veteran from Carteret, N.J., “but I also know the military traveler is an extremely small fraction of the total passengers carried. Those who wear the uniform today are a special class of citizen who enable everyone else to enjoy every liberty our great country holds dear. They deserve special treatment because they have earned it.”

Read more

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-wants-military-exempt-from-airline-baggage-fees/

Aug 06

VFW Washington Weekly – August 5, 2008

In This Issue:
1. VA Funding Passes House
2. New Housing Bill has Vet Provisions
3. House Passes Vet Bills
4. Congress on August Recess

1. VA funding Passes House: By a 409-4 vote, the House passed the 2009 VA and Military Construction funding bill. The bill builds on last year's historic funding increase, providing $8.8 billion more than last year's funding level. For VA, it's a $4.6 billion increase in funding to a total of $47.7 billion. It includes funding to treat the 40,000 new Iraq and Afghanistan veterans that VA expects to treat this year.
It also includes funding for:
* Priority 8 veterans – would allow a small number of new Priority 8 veterans back into the health care system
* Mental health care – nearly $1 billion more than last year's funding level for PTSD, suicide prevention and other mental illnesses
* Mileage Reimbursement – would increase the rate by $.13 per mile and freeze the deductible
* Rural care – increases funding for rural care options, especially targeted at returning Guard and Reserve members who live far away from VA facilities
* Research and prosthetics – over $170 million more than last year's amount
* Claims processors – allows the hiring of 2,100 additional processors to help reduce the disability claims backlog
* Construction – begins funding six additional VA facilities and allows smaller projects to be conducted at 145 additional locations

The Military Construction portion of the bill includes $336 million in new funding for quality of life programs for troops and their families, much of which is targeted towards barracks and medical facilities. It also sends $3.2 billion specifically towards military housing.

The bill awaits Senate action. With the Senate on recess until September, we will not see any movement for a while. Once the Senate passes its version of the funding bill, the differences would need to be resolved before being sent to the President.

For a detailed summary of the bill: http://appropriations.house.gov/pdf/MilConSummaryHP09.pdf
For information about the bill:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.06599:
To see how your Representative voted:
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2008/roll563.xml

Read more Washington Weekly

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-august-5-2008/

Jul 28

VFW Legislative Alert: Pass On-Time VA Funding Bill

This week, the House of Representatives is expected to take up the FY2009 Military Construction/VA Appropriations bill, but it is in danger of not passing before the Congress recesses. Some members of congress may try to attach non-related items to the bill which would hold up or even defeat final passage. VA would again be severely underfunded well into the upcoming fiscal year.

The VFW strongly supports quick passage of the bill as it provides critical increases in veterans' health care, troop housing and other resources needed for today's servicemembers.

We ask you to contact your Representatives today and urge them to pass a clean VA/MilCon Appropriations bill. Tell them that further delay hurts our veterans and our troops on the ground. Let them know that we expect them to reaffirm their priorities by doing the right thing and passing the funding bill quickly!!

For your Representatives contact information type your zip in the box provided in the link: http://capwiz.com/vfw/dbq/officials/

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-legislative-alert-pass-on-time-va-funding-bill/

Jul 23

VFW Washington Weekly – July 21, 2008

In This Issue:
1. FY2009 VA Funding Bill
2. House VA Committee Action
3. VA Outreach Hearing
4. SECDEF Recommends New Guard Chief

1. FY2009 VA Funding Bill: The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously cleared its version of the 2009 VA Funding Bill. The bill provides $72.7 billion in discretionary funding for military construction and Veterans Affairs. This is about $5 billion more than the current fiscal year, and is in line with the House Appropriations Committee's recommendations. It includes:
$47.7 billion in total VA discretionary funding.
$41.1 billion for VA health care.
$1.2 billion for VA construction projects, nearly double the president's request, and $1.1 billion for hospital maintenance and repairs.
$84 million more than the president's request for medical and prosthetic research.
$350 million to help certain higher income Category 8 veterans to begin enrolling in VA.
$250 million targeted to the care of rural veterans.
The bill now moves to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

Read more…

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-july-21-2008/

Jul 17

Vote and Get a Free Download

(via VFW.org)

The moment has arrived! Finalists have been chosen in the VFW Fly the Flag Photo Contest and voting has begun. Vote for your favorite photo and we’ll send you a free download of country music artist Ricky Lee's popular song "A Soldier Like You."

The best of the best have been selected. Now it's your turn to vote for the patriotic photo you think should win. Voting makes you eligible to download a country song from Ricky Lee!

Be part of VFW's 2008 Fly the Flag campaign! Let everyone know you support America's defenders and will never forget their sacrifice for freedom.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vote-and-get-a-free-download/

Jul 17

VA Announces On-Line Claims Applications

(via VA Press Release)

WASHINGTON (July 16, 2008) – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that on-line applications are now accepted from veterans, survivors and other claimants filing initial applications for disability compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits without the additional requirement to submit a signed paper copy of the application.

Effective immediately, VA will now process applications received through its on-line application website (VONAPP) without the claimant's signature.  The electronic application will be sufficient authentication of the claimant's application for benefits.  Normal development procedures and rules of evidence will still apply to all VONAPP applications.

VONAPP (www.va.gov/onlineapps.htm) is a Web-based system that benefits both internal and external users.  Veterans, survivors and other claimants seeking compensation, pension, education, or vocational rehabilitation benefits can apply electronically without the constraints of location, postage cost, and time delays in mail delivery.

VONAPP reduces the number of incomplete applications received by VA, decreasing the need for additional development by VA claims processors.  The on-line application also provides a link to apply for VA health care benefits and much more.

Over 3.7 million veterans and beneficiaries receive compensation and pension benefits from VA and approximately 523,000 students receive education benefits.  Approximately 90,000 disabled veterans participate in VA's Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program.

For more information about VA benefits, go to VA's website at www.va.gov or call our toll-free number at 1-800-827-1000.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/va-announces-on-line-claims-applications/

Jul 08

Happening Now in the Forum

A sample of what's being talked about today in the VFW WebCOM Membership Forum:

These discussions and more are going on right now in the VFW WebCOM Membership Forum.

And don't forget, you can stay on top of all the latest news and forum discussions by downloading your VFW WebCOM Department toolbar.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/happening-now-in-the-forum/

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