WASHINGTON – This past week Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) was joined by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced the introduction of legislation that would close a loophole in the law that allows for-profit schools to receive 100 percent of their funding from the federal government. To read the entire article click here.
I want to inform everyone of a pending piece of legislation that Senators Ayotte and Gillibrand are planning to offer as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. We believe this is important legislation and hope you will, too.
The idea behind the legislation is that innocent military family members who endure significant sacrifices over many years should not be deprived of benefits they would have been afforded just because the service member is convicted of a crime in which the family was innocent. Specifically:
A Central Florida veteran is fighting for his life, as well as disability and insurance benefits, after he said the kidney cancer that is costing him his life was caused by water contamination at Camp Lejeune. He said thousands of others are in the same boat, many of whom, live in Central Florida. He said many might not even be aware their illnesses could possibly have been caused by the toxic water.
To read the full article, click here.
Did you know that every day on average, 22 veterans commit suicide? The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act will help the Department of Veterans Affairs study new strategies for suicide prevention and give student loan incentives to recruit psychiatrists to work with veterans.
The Act complements VA’s ongoing, multi-faceted efforts to improve mental health care for our nation’s veterans, and I’m pleased that both houses of Congress came together to pass the SAV Act. I’m proud to stand with President Obama today as he signs this important legislation.
The VA has many entry points for care: medical centers, more than 800 community-based outpatient clinics, 300 Vet Centers that provide readjustment counseling, the Veterans Crisis Line, VA staff oncollege and university campuses, and the VA is offering expanded access to mental health services with longer clinic hours, telemental health capabilityto deliver services, and standards that mandate rapid access to mental health services.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 is the key mechanism to provide necessary authorities and funding for America’s military. This is the fifty-second consecutive NDAA. The legislation meets Chairman McKeon’s goal of providing for a strong defense in an era of uncertain and declining resources. The total funding authorized reflects the will of the House to provide our troops the resources they need to meet a dangerous world. However, Chairman McKeon also recognizes that, more than ever, the impacts of rapid defense cuts, FY13 sequestration, and the prospect of future sequester cuts in the years to come, will force our warfighters to be not only keen stewards of our national security, but to maximize value for every taxpayer dollar. To that end, this legislation supports and protects our warfighters and their families; addresses ongoing and emerging conflicts with resolve and accountability; protects America today while making wise choices.
By Megan Scully, CQ Roll Call
Negotiations on the final defense policy bill have stalled amid disagreements between House and Senate Armed Services committee leaders over issues affecting military benefits, congressional sources tracking the bill said Tuesday.
Committee leaders had hoped to finalize the negotiated bill early this week, but they have reached an impasse over differences in the two measures on cost-saving Pentagon proposals to increase some TRICARE pharmacy co-pays and reduce the basic housing allowance for military personnel.
The bottom line of the mark-up includes:
By Connor Obrien, CQ Roll Call
The House Thursday passed its fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill by a wide bipartisan margin, on the same day the Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to approve its own measure. The House advanced 325-98 the annual defense policy legislation (HR 4435) after disposing of 169 amendments, debating all proposals Wednesday night and holding a rapid-fire vote session Thursday morning before final passage.
Thursday’s vote puts the authorization measure on the path to enactment for the 53rd consecutive year. At the outset of floor debate, House Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., who will retire from Congress at the end of his current term, called
At least 40 U.S. veterans have died waiting for medical appointments at Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system undefined including many placed on a secret waiting list. The list was part of a complex cost-cutting scheme set up by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix aiming to hide the fact that between 1,400 and 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait up to 21 months to see a doctor, according to whistle-blowing retired top VA doctor and high-level sources.
Internal emails reveal managers at Arizona’s VA hospital knew about the practice and even condoned it. Retiring Dr. Sam Foote, who spent 24 years with the VA system, told CNN that the Phoenix VA worked off two patient appointment lists. The "official" list shows the VA was offering timely appointments within 14 to 30 days. Foote called this a “sham list” because there was another secret document where waits were much longer.
In the first official congressional action on the Pentagon’s proposed 2015 budget, House lawmakers have rejected proposed cuts in housing allowances and commissary funding, as well as an overhaul of the Tricare system that would increase out-of-pocket costs for some beneficiaries.
But members of the House Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel remained noticeably silent on the Defense Department’s proposed 1 percent basic pay raise for troops next year, opening the door for another smaller-than-expected pay boost in January.
And the lawmakers also signaled that they want service members to play a role in deciding what pay and benefits cuts they’ll see in the