Legislative News

Court rules VA must pay disability benefits to ‘blue water’ Vietnam veterans

Wednesday, January 30, 2019 / Legislative News

WASHINGTON — A federal court ruled Tuesday that the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot deny disability benefits to thousands of Vietnam veterans who claim exposure to cancer-causing chemical defoliants simply because those vets served in the waters off the country’s coastline, and not inland.

The ruling marks a major victory for so-called “blue water” Navy veterans who have fought the department for years over the denials. VA officials have said the existing scientific evidence doesn’t justify the presumption of toxic exposure for the group and have strongly opposed legislative efforts to overturn their decision.

But the 9-2 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturns past court opinions backing up VA, saying that Congress never intended to exclude servicemembers in the seas around Vietnam when they awarded presumptive benefits for certain illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure.


MENG PROVISIONS TO ASSIST VETERANS SIGNED INTO LAW

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 / Legislative News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced today that she has passed several important measures into law to assist veterans. These items include provisions that Meng attached to the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, which was recently signed into law by the President. The measures include the following: 

· Requiring the VA to investigate easing the burden of filing disability claims for veterans who participated in nuclear clean-up activities in Palomares, Spain and on Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Currently, these veterans are not presumed to have been previously exposed to radiation when filing claims for disability and medical assistance. Rep. Meng introduced the Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act which would provide healthcare benefits to veterans who participated in the nuclear cleanup of Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands during the late 1970s. 


Secretary Mattis & Gen Dunford brief the NDAA

Monday, September 3, 2018 / Legislative News

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JAMES N. MATTIS: Well, good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for being here this morning.

In January of this year, the Department of Defense released its National Defense Strategy. It was the first of its kind in a decade. And in it, we outlined the department's strategic priorities and the guidance that we wanted to give our departments below us for the budget request, tying the budgets to the strategy itself.

Today, thanks to strong bipartisan support in Congress and resulted in $717 billion budget authorization for 2019. And our military continues to grow stronger, more lethal, more agile, and certainly more deployable than a year ago.


TELL YOUR STORY TO THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Saturday, September 1, 2018 / Legislative News

Dedicated to collecting the first-hand accounts of all veterans from WWI to present day, the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project (VHP) was created to preserve the memories of wartime veterans. VHP makes those personal accounts accessible to the public, which allows future generations to hear directly from veterans & better understand a veteran's service.

Established in 2000, VHP has more than 105,000 collections already archived & still is accepting new collection every day. VHP Director Karen Lloyd, a retired Colonel who served 28 years in the Army, said VHP is proud of that number.

We are working with the VHP & encouraging members to reach out to veterans within their own community, to listening to their stories & donate their work to their


Officials Choose Desert Storm Memorial Site in Washington, DC

Saturday, September 1, 2018 / Legislative News

After more than three years of planning and debate, the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts voted in June to locate the new National Desert Storm War Memorial adjacent to the National Mall at the intersection of Constitution Av & 23rd street, NW , in D.C. The commission voted 4-2 to approve the site, which will commemorate those who served in Operation Desert Shield & Operation Desert Storm in 1990-91.

"No one could have envisioned an American-led international coalition defeating the then-fourth largest standing army in the world in six weeks from the air & 100 hours on the ground," said Scott Stump, VFW life member of the Department of North Carolina & CEO & President of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association. "But we did, & we did so magnificently, all because of our equipment, our training & our leaders - all of whom honed their teeth in Vietnam, where they learned how not to fight the next war."


Veterans & Military Service Organizations Urge CFPB & DOD Not To Rollback Servicemembers' Protections Under the Military Lending Act

Sunday, August 26, 2018 / Legislative News

Attached please find two letters from 38 veteran and military service organization leaders asking US Defense Secretary James Mattis and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Acting Director Mick Mulvaney to stop the rollback of servicemembers' rights under the Military Lending Act.

The letters are in response to Mr. Mulvaney's reported plan to stop the supervisory checks on banks and non-bank lenders for compliance with the provisions of the Military Lending Act, including the MLA's 36% cap on loans to servicemembers, and a plan to allow car lenders to circumvent the rules, as reported in these news articles:


Pentagon Spokesman Discusses ISIS Preliminary Plan, Budget Amendment

Thursday, March 23, 2017 / Legislative News

By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2017 – Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will present a preliminary version of the Pentagon's new plan to rapidly defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria during a meeting of the White House Principals Committee today, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said here this morning.

The Cabinet-level senior interagency forum, which usually does not include the president, already has received copies of the classified report, which Davis described as a framework for a broader global plan. President Donald J. Trump requested the plan in a Jan. 28 presidential memorandum. Full story click here.


President Trump seeks big jump in defense spending

Thursday, March 23, 2017 / Legislative News

By Ken Bredemeier February 27, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump called Monday for a $54 billion annual increase in defense spending, describing the 10 percent jump as a "landmark event," a message aimed at assuring the world of "American strength, security and resolve."

Speaking to U.S. governors at the White House, Trump said, "We must ensure that our courageous servicemen and women have the tools they need to deter war and when called upon to fight in our name, only do one thing, win."

The new president said the United States has to "start winning wars again," recalling that in his youth in the years after World War II, Americans


National Defense Authorization Act 2017

National Defense Authorization Act 2017
Sunday, January 8, 2017 / Legislative News

The US House & Senate have agreed to a National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017


115th Congress takes office

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 / Legislative News

Today, the 115th Congress has been sworn in with the republicans taking control of both the House and Senate. This is the first time in decades since republicans controlled both houses of congress and the White House. 

More info HERE


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