Friday, December 07, 2018

House Veterans Affairs Committee Dec 7th

UPDATED ADVISORY: HVAC Schedule December 4 - December 7

Washington, D.C. - Today, Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) released the hearing schedule for December 4 - December 7.

Please note that all hearings scheduled for Wendnesday are postponed.

The following events are open to the press:

 The below event is postponed:

WHO: House Committee on Veterans' Affairs

WHAT: "Is VA Ready for Full Implementation of Appeals Reform?"

WHEN: 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, December 5, 2018

WHERE: 334 Cannon House Office Building and streaming here.

Background: During this hearing, the full committee will examine the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) readiness to fully implement the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017. Specifically, the committee will discuss whether the Secretary is prepared to certify in January 2019 that the Department is ready to carry out the new appeals system and timely address both new and legacy appeals. Alternatively, if the Department is not prepared to carry out the new appeals system, the hearing will discuss the timeline for the Department to confirm that it has the resources, personnel, office space, procedures, and information technology required to carry out the new appeals system.

The below event is postponed:

WHO: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

WHAT: "The Veterans First Program after Kingdomware"

WHEN: 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 5, 2018

WHERE: 334 Cannon House Office Building and streaming here.

Background: During this hearing, the Subcommittee will review the status of the implementation of the Veterans First program since the Supreme Court's decision in Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States. Major topics will include the extent to which contract awards to Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs) and Veteran Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs) have increased; the uniformity of application of the Rule of Two throughout VA; the challenges the VA procurement workforce faces in complying with the Veterans First program and other mandates; the prevalence of improper pass-throughs in performance of such contracts (violations of limitation on subcontracting); and potential additional policy, regulatory, or legislative steps that may be taken to improve the program's application. The Subcommittee will discuss the Government Accountability Office's report entitled, "Veterans First Program: VA Needs to Address Implementation Challenges and Strengthen Oversight of Subcontracting Limitations" as well as the independent assessment report of the Veterans First program recently completed by the MITRE Corporation.

WHO: House Committee on Veterans' Affairs and Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs

WHAT: "Tracking Transformation: VA MISSION Act Implementation."

WHEN: 10:00 a.m., Thursday, December 6, 2018

WHERE: HVC-210 - Capitol Visitors Center, House Side, Second Floor, Room 210 and streaming here.

Background: During this joint oversight hearing, the two committees will discuss the implementation of the John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka, and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018 (also known as the VA MISSION Act). The committees will focus on VA's progress with respect to implementation of title I of the law, which requires VA to institute a consolidated community care program governed by certain access and quality standards by no later than June 6, 2019, to replace the Choice program.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Information on Mesothelioma

Link for help and resources for :
Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, or Mesothelioma

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Protect TRICARE Benefits for Retirees


Protect TRICARE Benefits for Retirees

Background: Last year's National Defense Authorization Act increased TRICARE costs for military retirees who enter the military after January 1, 2018, and their families. Current military retirees and their family members are exempt from these cost increases, but a proposal which was recently advanced by the Senate would remove this exemption. This proposal would result in higher TRICARE fees for military retirees, including pharmacy copayments, which are already three times higher than they were in 2011, and enrollment costs for certain plans, such as the new Select plan, would nearly triple. There is an inherent cost to fielding a professional, all-volunteer military, and the promise of a modest stipend immediately upon retirement and inexpensive health care are keys to retaining our best and brightest service members. The VFW needs your help in defeating this harmful proposal which would require military retirees to pay more for their earned health care.

Take Action: Contact your Senators and Representative to demand that they reject any proposal that would result in TRICARE fee increases for current beneficiaries, and let them know that veterans have paid for their benefits through blood, sweat and tears many times over.

                                                      CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION! 

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

On Twitter, please paste: I stand with @VFWHQ in opposing any #FY18NDAA proposal that would require military retirees to pay more for their earned health care!

On Facebook, please paste: I stand with @VFWfans in opposing any #FY18NDAA proposal that would require military retirees to pay more for their earned health care!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Mattis Meets With Senior Turkish Leaders in Ankara

Possible Discussion on the Future of Incirlik AFB?

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

Aug. 23, 2017 — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis today met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli in Ankara, Turkey's capital city, Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana W. White said in a statement.

This was the first meeting between Mattis and Canikli, White said. The two leaders discussed the need for ongoing open and honest dialogue, the importance of integrity of Syria and Iraq and concern over Iran's malign influence in the region, she said.

Defeating ISIS

White said Mattis and Canikli further reaffirmed their shared resolve to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Later in the day, Mattis met with the Turkish president, and the two leaders discussed regional security and strategy, White said.

White said Mattis expressed to Erdoğan the United States' commitment to its bilateral relationship with Turkey.

Mattis also addressed Turkey's legitimate security concerns, White said.

Mattis and Erdoğan expressed a shared interest for the two countries to create conditions for a more stable and secure region, she said

Sunday, August 13, 2017

OIR Officials: 2 U.S. Service Members Killed, 5 Injured in Northern Iraq

Click photo for screen-resolution image 
Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve logo. DoD graphic

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

OIR Officials: 2 U.S. Service Members Killed, 5 Injured in Northern Iraq

From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Aug. 13, 2017 — Two U.S. service members were killed and five others were injured conducting combat operations in northern Iraq today, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Initial reports indicate the incident was not due to enemy contact.

The incident is under investigation.

"The entire counter-ISIS Coalition sends our deepest condolences to these heroes' families, friends and teammates," said Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.

Townsend added, "There are no words to describe the respect I have for you and sorrow I have for your loss. I hope there is some small solace in knowing their loss has meaning for our country and all the nations of the coalition as the fallen service members were fighting to defeat a truly evil enemy and to protect our homelands."

Further information will be released as appropriate.

In accordance with policy, the coalition defers casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

DAV Alert ... Action Needed

On Jun 12, 2017 09:04,

 "David W. Riley, DAV National Commander 

Over the past several weeks, DAV has received hundreds of inquiries from DAV members and other concerned parties regarding the proposal to eliminate the total disability rating based on Individual Unemployability (IU) benefits for veterans over the age of 62 contained in the President's fiscal year 2018 budget. Specifically, the proposal would terminate existing IU total disability ratings for veterans when they reach the minimum retirement age for Social Security purposes (age 62), or upon enactment of the proposal if the veteran is already in receipt of Social Security retirement benefits. In the May 24 House Veterans' Affairs Committee budget hearing, DAV expressed its strong opposition to this proposal. We are aware that the elimination of these benefits would affect not only the veteran's family income, but other critical ancillary benefits, such as dental coverage, Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance, the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA (CHAMPVA), commissary and exchange privileges, and the value of Social Security benefits. Additionally, this will impact access to some state benefits such as property tax exemptions for veteran homeowners, free vehicle registration and free access to state parks.
Please be assured this is a key priority for DAV and we are trying to respond to your phone calls and email messages as quickly as possible. DAV is actively working to educate Capitol Hill lawmakers and the public about the devastating impact this proposal would have upon service-disabled veterans and their families.
Steps DAV has already taken:
  • Action alert for members:  DAV members and their supporters have sent almost 24,000 emails to Members of Congress through the DAV Commander's Action Network, advising them of our strong opposition to the proposal.
  • Testimony:  On May 24, 2017, DAV, along with our Independent Budget (IB) partners, Paralyzed Veterans of American and Veterans of Foreign Wars, testified on the Administration's budget to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs and expressed our opposition to the IU proposal. DAV and its IB parnters will again condemn the IU proposal at a hearing before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs on June 14th at 2:30 PM. There will be a live feed of the hearing on that day.
  • Press Release:  The IB veterans service organizations issued a press release concerning our opposition to the President's budget and IU proposal on May 25, 2017.
Planned actions:
  • OP/ED from DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Garry Augustine to be distributed to major media outlets nationwide.
  • Meetings with Members of Congress to educate them about the negative impact of the IU proposal on veterans and their families.
  • Letter to House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees and Congressional leadership to highlight the impact of the IU proposal and express our strong opposition to it.
  • Developing an information sheet for DAV members to use in their own meetings and conversations with elected officials
Please keep in mind this is ONLY a proposal and the start of the budget process. But it is critical we protect our benefits by educating our elected officials about the negative impact this proposal would have on service-disabled veterans and their families. Please send a message to your elected officials to express your views on this important issue. We appreciate your support in our efforts to assure that America's veterans with wartime injuries and illnesses continue to receive all the benefits they are due from a grateful nation.

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