In This Issue: 1. VFW Signs MOU with Student Veterans of America 2. Key Veterans' Bills Ready for Signature 3. Congress Passes Vet Employer Tax Credits 4. 113th Congress Sworn In
1.VFW Signs MOU with Student Veterans of America: VFW Senior Vice Commander Bill Thien and Junior Vice Commander John Stroud joined members of Student Veterans of America this week at their national conference in Orlando, Florida, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that furthers the great relationship the VFW has had since SVA's founding in January 2008. VFW and SVA have stood side-by-side to push the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, as well as numerous other GI Bill improvements, to include just-passed legislation that provides better consumer information for new student veterans. The MOU will enable closer contact between the VFW's 7,200 Posts and nationwide network of 1,200 accredited service officers, and SVA chapters on 700 college and university campuses. A special VFW e-mail address will also be created for student-veterans who need help with their VA claims. For more about VFW activities at the SVA conference in Orlando, check out our blog athttp://thevfw.blogspot.com/
2. Key Veterans' Bills Ready for Signature: The House cleared VFW-supported legislation before adjourning the 112th Congress. Both bills were a part of the VFW's fall campaign, "Finish Strong for Veterans." H.R. 4057, the Improving Transparency in Education for Veterans Act, will provide consumer awareness and fraud protections for veterans using Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. S. 3202, includes funding for the improvement and transfer of Clark Cemetery to the American Battle Monuments Commission, a Burn Pit registry, and a pilot program for off-base Transition Assistance Program briefings. The President is expected to sign the bills. For more about our involvement and information on both bills, go tohttp://thevfw.blogspot.com/2013/01/vfw-supported-bills-head-to-president.html.
3. Congress Passes Vet Employer Tax Credits: Congress included tax credits for businesses who hire veterans in the bill passed to avoid the fiscal cliff. The Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors work opportunity tax credit provisions offer from $2,400 to $9,600 in credits to businesses who hire veterans. Two of the tax credits are each worth $2,400, one for veterans whose families are receiving supplemental nutrition assistance, and the other for the short-term hiring of unemployed veterans. Also extended are a $4,800 tax credit for hiring a veteran discharged within the previous year who has a service-connected disability; a $5,600 tax credit for hiring a veteran who has been unemployed for an extended period; and a $9,600 tax credit for hiring a service-disabled veteran who has been unemployed for an extended period.
4. 113th Congress Sworn In: The 113th Congress was sworn into office on Thursday, and the House re-elected John Boehner (R-OH) as its Speaker for the next two years. Among the changes in the new Congress are some 80 freshman, to include 16 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans (many of whom are VFW members), and a host of committee leadership changes and/or assignments. The VFW looks forward to working with the new Congress to ensure the voices of our veterans, service members and their families are heard during what promises to be a heated year of debate regarding the proper funding of critical programs. To get to know your elected officials, go to http://capwiz.com/vfw/dbq/officials/.