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Making Veterans a Priority 2007-2010


By jimstaro - Posted on 20 October 2010

Yesterday I received an e-mail from the Communications Director of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Kristal DeKleer. Thank you Kristal for sending this out to the e-mail list, will be passing the information on as I'm sure others will as well.

Also yesterday I used the following in a few posts as related to recent Veterans Administration press releases:

Let me tell ya folks, if the so called repubs, still haven't met one true one in a couple of decades, pick up Any Seats let alone take the House what Shinseki and his Great Admin have been doin will come to a Screeching Halt on many and curtailed on others! This is the Most Pro Active VA in my lifetime!

When they've had to re-act, what with trying to move everything into the 21st century as well as catch up to What Wasn't Done Nor Mentioned As Two More Wars Were Waged, they've been Spot On and Quick, pretty much getting up to speed in a very short time span or getting rid of the contractors holding it back and bringing in new!

And I would suggest, strongly, that any and all Democratic Candidates running in this election download, print out, study them and start using the points made as this Op-Ed is suggesting as to the lack of mention in this election cycle.

War rages. Soldiers suffer. America sleeps

October 19, 2010 - How is it possible for a country to be at war on two fronts for nearly a decade and not be plunged into constant fits of epic soul-searching? Whatever trick of light makes it possible to pretend "We, the People" have nothing to do with wars waged in our name overseas also blinds us to its tragic legacies at home.

In a little more than two weeks, a nation suffering from willful amnesia about Iraq and Afghanistan will either vote for new representatives who share their myopia -- or retain those incumbents most skilled at exploiting it.

If polls are to be believed, these wars are too low on the list of voter priorities to prompt much turnout on Election Day. Although more than a trillion dollars has been spent on the wars, that's an unthinkable abstraction to the vast majority of us.

If we could see it as the most obscene example of the hijacking and theft of government revenue in American history, there would be historically high turnouts in the midterms and for every election after that for at least a generation. {read rest}

In this, checked the House VA Committee site and they don't have this there as yet, she has three different docs that are found on the google docs site related to all that the Congress, especially the House, has done related to Veterans Issues since 2007, much of them were overlooked completely by not only the previous administration but the congresses prior to and that's pointed out as I'll show.

This is the body of the e-mail:

Attached are comprehensive materials to discuss accomplishments for America’s veterans. The two page document is limited to accomplishments from the 111th Congress, while the 4 and 8 page documents cover updates from 2007-2010.

2 page Document {251K}

Four page Document {258K}

8 page Document {95K}

In the 2nd four page document it starts out with this:

For too long, the needs of America’s veterans had been forgotten. Even during wartime, budgets for the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to keep up with the real needs of veterans. Incidents like poor care for soldiers at Walter Reed and restricted access to VA health care were wake up calls that Congress needed to do more. Nearly four years ago, Democrats gained control of Congress and responded by passing significant legislation to provide historic budget increases for veterans, expand access to VA health care, improve health services for all veterans, and modernize benefits earned by America’s troops. Democrats in Congress made the needs of veterans their top priority and the progress of the 110th and 111th Congress is a pledge to veterans of our vision for the future.

Since 2007, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs conducted more than 200 hearings and passed more than 135 bills – making the Committee one of the most productive in history. The agenda was clear: address the emerging needs of veterans, as well as those needs that have lingered for years. Legislative successes include a G.I. Bill for the 21st Century, a nearly 60% increase in the baseline of the VA’s health care budget, and a program for veteran caregivers which was the top priority of many veteran service organizations. Congress also passed advance appropriations to ensure a predictable funding stream for veterans’ health care one year in advance and concentrated on providing care for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.

The cost of war is high. Too many veterans remain uncompensated for their service, and there is much to be done to prepare to keep the promises made to today’s fighting troops. Meeting the needs of America’s veterans is a fundamental cost of war – and will remain a top priority for Democrats. {snip}

And in the third eight page document it has this as it beginning:

Note from the Chairman

For too many years, the needs of America’s veterans had been forgotten. Even during wartime, budgets for the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to keep up with the real needs of veterans. Incidents like poor care for soldiers at Walter Reed and restricted access to VA health care were wake up calls that we needed to do more. Nearly four years ago, Democrats gained control of Congress and responded by tackling the many issues faced by veterans, passing significant legislation providing historic budget increases, expanding access to VA health care, improving health services for all veterans, and modernizing benefits earned by America’s troops. Democrats in Congress made the needs of veterans their top priority and the results of the 110th and 111th Congress are a pledge to veterans of our vision for the future.

Since 2007, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs conducted more than 200 hearings and passed more than 135 bills to address the everyday needs of veterans, not only of returning veterans but also the needs of veterans from previous conflicts. Making the Committee one of the most productive in history, legislative successes include a G.I. Bill for the 21st Century, a nearly 60% increase in the baseline of the VA’s health care budget, and a program for veteran caregivers which was the top priority of many veteran service organizations. Congress also passed advance appropriations to ensure a predictable funding stream for veterans’ health care one year in advance and concentrated on providing care for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.

The cost of war is high. Too many veterans remain uncompensated for their service, and there is much we must do to prepare to keep the promises made to today’s fighting troops. Meeting the needs of America’s veterans is a fundamental cost of war – and will remain a top priority for Democrats. {end of opening letter}

Under the Bush Administration, VA health care funding remained stagnant, co-pay increases were proposed, and investment in much-needed research to provide the best care for veterans suffering from unknown injuries languished. America was a country at war, yet the Department of Veterans Affairs remained unprepared to care for the hundreds of thousands of new veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Democrats in Congress offered a new direction and went to work to ensure that the cost of the war included the cost of the warrior, fighting for budgets that honor the sacrifices of our service members and veterans. {snip}

With all that the previous republican congresses as well as that administration left this Country to deal with these Wars and Occupations cannot be allowed to be buried under the obstruction from sight coming from All who are still calling themselves conservatives, republicans and especially patriots who support the military and us veterans, all veterans, as they only use those words when their needs for flag waving are apparent then crawl back into their holes of apathy as long as no one confronts them!

Go back to the top and read what I wrote yesterday, we've been fighting the same mentality of false support for decades and the few republicans that really did care and could be talked to and worked with are long gone from this modern day, not, republican party lacking even in conservative ideology!

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