Monday, November 27, 2017

Action Alert: Help Oppose New VA Privatization Attempt

From our friends at the VFW:


Background: Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) recently introduced a bill that would break our promise to veterans. H.R. 4457, the Veterans Empowerment Act, would dismantle the VA health care system, charge veterans for service-connected health care, and reduce VA to an insurance program for veterans. Congressman Lamborn and bill cosponsors, Congressmen Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) must not be allowed to advance this dangerous proposal.

Take Action: Urge your member of Congress to oppose H.R. 4457 and let Congress know if they cannot take care of America’s veterans, then Congress should quit creating them.

                  CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION!

After taking action, please consider posting about this Alert on social media:

On Twitter, please click here .

On Facebook, please paste: I stand with @VFWHQ and oppose H.R. 4457, the Veterans Empowerment Act. If Congress cannot afford to take care of America’s veterans then we should stop creating them. #VFWActionAlert http://bit.ly/2hVDFmw
 
VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2017: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Thirteenth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

VFW Goes to bat for BWN!

Our friends at the VFW have taken up our cause:

VFW Calls on President to Help Blue Water Navy Veterans: During a markup on Thursday, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs discussed H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017, and ways to offset the more than $1 billion cost. Committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-Minn.) talked about a recommendation to round down annual cost-of-living increases to the next whole percentage point, which was rightfully dismissed because it would take from one veteran to give to another, which the VFW has strongly opposed in the past. Due to Congress’ inability to pass the Blue Water Navy Veterans Act, the VFW sees an order by the president to change regulations to include Blue Water Navy veterans under the presumptive conditions list as the best course of action to right this injustice. These are not new benefits, but a restoration of benefits taken away in 2002 after a change in regulations. VFW National Commander Keith Harman wrote to President Trump asking him to intervene.  


Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of the nearly 1.7 million members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) and its Auxiliary, I write to ask you to correct a 15-year injustice that currently impacts some 110,000 so-called "Blue Water Navy" veterans.

The Agent Orange Act of 1991 created the presumptive conditions list that provides disabled Vietnam veterans both compensation benefits and VA-provided health care. Blue Water Navy veterans were initially included under this law, but a regulation change in 2002 exempted them. Since the two previous administrations from both parties have failed to correct this inequity, members of Congress have repeatedly tried and failed to pass the Blue  Water Navy  Vietnam Veterans Act, which would correct this wrong.

In today's markup, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-Minn.) discussed how to offset the cost of passing H.R. 299, which the Congressional Budget Office has estimated to cost more than $1 billion over 10 years. A recommendation to round down annual
cost-of-living increases to the next whole percentage point was rightfully dismissed because it would force one group of disabled veterans to pay for expanded care for another group of disabled veterans. Due to Congress' failed attempts to restore benefits for Blue Water veterans, we ask for your intervention.

In reviewing the Agent Orange Act of 1991, one can clearly see that the intent was to use science, not cost, as the driving factor to address the needs of all Vietnam veterans. Ensuing regulation changes made it harder for Blue Water Navy veterans to prove a service-connection to whatever presumptive condition they were claiming. Those changes were also slammed as being "arbitrary and capricious" by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Affairs in Gray v. McDonald.

As President, you have the authority to end this injustice. You have stated time and time again that you would take care of our nation's veterans. We believed you when you spoke those words before the VFW's  117th National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., last year, and that is why I write today. You ordering the reinstatement of Blue Water Navy veterans with other Vietnam veterans under the presumptive  conditions associated with Agent Orange is the right thing to do.

Respectfully,


KEITH E. HARMAN
Commander-in-Chief


VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2017: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Thirteenth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Bad news! Apparently not enough of you called!

The latest on the bill courtesy of the FRA:
Agent Orange Bill Stalls in Committee 
The House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) scheduled a Committee vote on the "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act" (H.R.299) this week. It did not occur when HVAC members could not agree if the bill should be paid for by rounding down veteran's benefit checks to the nearest dollar. First reported in the July 28 Newsbytes, HVAC Chairman Roe (Tenn.) offered to have a committee vote if the bill could be amended to round down veteran's monthly benefits to pay for the bill.  Roe said, "We owe it to our brave veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam, to pass this bill. I have close friends who died in Vietnam. I can't go to another Veteran's Day ceremony without at least trying to get this bill approved."  Roe continued "I have spoken to many veterans who said they would be willing to give up less than a dollar a month to do right by Blue Water Navy veterans, and I imagine many veterans around the country feel the same way."  

HVAC Ranking Member Tim Walz (Minn.), one of the five original co-sponsors of the bill, argued that a round-down bill is bad policy. "Asking one group of veterans to pay for another group of veterans' benefits is not only bad policy, it is the wrong answer for all veterans. That is why finding the funds to pay for this bill outside the VA budget in is absolutely critical. I will continue to call on Chairman Roe to make that happen."  Walz claimed HVAC passed and the House approved veteran's legislation without spending offsets. He claimed the 2014 VA Choice program and the 2008 Post 911 GI Bill passed without spending offsets. He further argued we should not cut veterans benefits while we enact tax cuts for the rich. Due to the partisan split the Chairman did not call the bill for a vote.  
FRA wants to thank Shipmates for calling committee members and using the Action Center to contact elected officials. The Association will continue to work for passage of "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act." 
Sad state of affairs!  If you read this blog and don't make the calls, or send the letters then why are you here? 

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2017: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Thirteenth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.