(via The Pentagon Channel)
In This Issue:
1. VFW Legislative Conference Wrap-up
2. Caregiver Hearing
3. GITMO Trials to Resume
4. VFW Invited to Buckles Funeral
5. Five WWII MIAs Identified
1. VFW Legislative Conference Wrap-up: More than 600 VFW and Ladies Auxiliary members attended the annual VFW Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. Highlights ranged from the selection of Kelsey Woo from California as the 2011 Voice of Democracy winner to presentations from VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright, USMC, as well as VFW members meeting with their U.S. representatives and senators. VFW National Commander Richard Eubank hosted 100 wounded warriors and their families to dinner, and met with the Coast Guard Commandant and Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, and with the Marine Corps Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, before testifying Tuesday before a joint hearing of the House and Senate VA Committees. He met with President Obama on Wednesday to discuss issues important to America's veterans, servicemembers and families.
For more information, and other video, go to www.vfw.org.
Since 1949, VFW's annual National Legislative and Youth Scholarship Conference has provided an opportunity for VFW’s Commander-in-Chief and other key leaders to testify on behalf of veterans on Capitol Hill.
Topics covered this year will include: minimizing the VA claims backlog, decreasing veteran unemployment, improving VA health care and many more.
Also at the event, the winners of the Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen scholarship contests will be announced. Each national winner will read their winning essay before conference delegates and will then be presented with their winnings.
For the second year in a row, VFW will stream live video from the National Legislative and Youth Scholarship Conference in Washington D.C., March 5-9, on www.vfw.org.
Streaming will begin with the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen Parade of Winners at 6:00 p.m. (EST) on March 6.
WASHINGTON (February 16, 2011) — In the rollout of their fiscal year 2012 budget submission, the Department of Defense on Monday announced plans to offset huge Tricare medical program expenses by increasing the annual enrollment fees paid by working-age military retirees — first by 13 percent, then by linking future increases to double-digit medical inflation. The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is against both plans.
VFW National Commander Richard L. Eubank, a retired Marine and Vietnam combat veteran from Eugene, Ore., believes tying future increases to medical inflation is an escalator clause that will raise Tricare premiums so high that retirees will disenroll and look elsewhere for coverage.
"Asking someone to voluntarily give up 20 or more years of their youth on the simple promise of a pension and lifelong medical care for themselves and their spouses is a cost this nation and our government should be more than willing to bear," he said. "Any changes to how military retirees are treated will send an ominous signal to hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women who may be contemplating military careers."
WASHINGTON D.C., Feb. 15, 2011 — The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is appreciative of the funding increase President Obama proposed Monday for the Department of Veterans Affairs, but he has some serious concerns about proposed reductions in programs ranging from construction and infrastructure to medical and prosthetic research.
"The VFW appreciates the proposed increase because it recognizes that the proper care and treatment of wounded and disabled veterans are ongoing costs of war," said Richard L. Eubank, who leads the 2.1 million-member VFW and its Auxiliaries. "Our concern, however, is that the total discretionary request of almost $62 billion is just not enough for VA to improve all the programs and services on their watch."
The proposed VA budget for fiscal year 2012 is $132.2 billion, of which $70.3 billion is for mandatory benefits such as disability compensation and pension. The remaining $61.9 billion is discretionary funding, primarily for the Veterans Health Administration, which represents about a 10-percent increase over FY 2010 funding, but just 3 percent more than the proposed but never passed FY 2011 budget.
In contrast, the Independent Budget recommends $65.3 billion, or 14.4 percent above 2010 levels and 8 percent about 2011. The VFW coauthors the Independent Budget—now in its 25th year—with AMVETs, Disabled American Veterans and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
(via The Pentagon Channel)
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 28, 2011 — America's oldest and largest major combat veterans' organization announced it will do everything within its power to defeat a plan introduced by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to cut $4.5 billion from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"No way, no how, will we let this proposal get any traction in Congress," said Richard L. Eubank, the national commander of the 2.1 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.
On her website, the three-term congresswoman lists more than $400 billion in suggestions to cut federal spending. The VA suggestion would cap increases to VA healthcare spending, and reduce disability compensation to account for Social Security Disability Insurance payments — in other words, an offset. She says her plan is intended to generate discussion.
"The only discussion the VFW wants is to tell the congresswoman that her plan is totally out of step with America's commitment to our veterans," said Eubank, a retired Marine and Vietnam combat veteran from Eugene, Ore.
WASHINGTON – To bring the educational benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill closer to more Veterans and Service Members, President Obama signed legislation Jan. 4 that streamlines the 18-month-old education program administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“Since the first GI Bill in 1944, this unique educational program has adapted to the needs of America’s Veterans, active-duty personnel, reservists and Guardsmen,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “Like its forbearers, the Post-9/11 GI Bill is growing to ensure the men and women who serve this nation in uniform receive valuable education benefits from a grateful nation.
“On behalf of Veterans and the many who serve them at VA, we would like to thank the president for his support, as well as members of Congress and our Veterans service organization partners for helping make this bill a reality,” Shinseki added.
Among the provisions of the legislation are:
· Paying for on-the-job training, some flight training; apprenticeship training and correspondence courses;
· Allowing reservists and Guardsmen to have their time supporting emergencies called by their state governors credited to the time needed to qualify for educational benefits;
As a new decade begins, VFW is more determined than ever to fight for key veterans’ issues.
“We’ve set some fierce objectives in this year’s Priority Goals, and we’re determined to see it through for our veterans,” explained Raymond Kelley, VFW Legislative Director. “But we need a lot of support to get the job done.”
Kelley is calling on all VFW members and friends to re-dedicate to take legislative action in the year ahead.
Among the issues on the table:
Improving VA Health Care—VFW is urging Congress to ensure quality care for all sick and disabled veterans. This would include increased funding for suicide prevention and treatment of PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury and gender-specific disorders.
Creating a Seamless Transition—VFW is encouraging Congress to ensure our veterans receive timely benefit processing, viable training and employment and education programs.