Friday, April 12, 2013

Updates on Legislation


Here are the latest updates on legislation of interest to Veterans, and in particular, to Blue Water Sailors of the Vietnam War.

HR 543, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2013 has had an increase in the number of cosponsors.  It now numbers 92 [62 Democrats and 30 Republicans in a House dominated by a Republican Majority is not good.  And only 92 after the House recess for Easter makes this showing rather pitiful.]  Perhaps the poor results of our efforts to garner cosponsors is the reason Senator Gillibrand has not introduced the companion bill in the Senate?  Why do so when there is such weak support in the House?   

HR 164, The 100% Disabled Veterans Travel Bill, which would allow free travel on a space available basis for 100% service-connected disabled Veterans on military aircraft.  This bill now has 114 cosponsors [62 Republican, 52 Democrat, which shows the balance in the house, and that Republicans really are not afraid to vote for Veterans benefits.  Its companion bill in the Senate is S.346.

HR 1492, introduced by Representative Jim McDermott [D-WA 7], “To establish the Commission on America and its Veterans.”  We have no idea what this is about, and will not until the text is returned from the Government Printing Office sometime next week.  That said, we think it prudent for any legislation involving both a “commission” and “veterans” should be tracked.

HR 1494, a bill introduced by Representative Christopher Gibson [R-NY 19], “To direct the Secretary of Defense to review the operation of certain ships during the Vietnam Era, and for other purposes.”  This was just introduced and the text of the legislation has not been returned from the Government Printing Office yet, so it is unavailable.  We suspect this may have something to do with the Department of Defense cooperating more fully with requests from the VA for records of ships serving off Vietnam, but will have to wait for the text to appear next week to be sure.

HR 1497, a bill introduced by Representative Duncan Hunter [D-CA 50], “To amend title 36, United States Code, to ensure that memorials commemorating the service of the United States Armed Forces may contain religious symbols, and for other purposes.”, and a companion bill in the Senate, S.705, introduced by Senator Richard Burr [R-NC], both bills in response to a recent news story about religious symbols being prevented from the graves of Veterans.

In the meantime, we have added trackers to take you to the Library of Congress’ Thomas site for each of these bills, as we already have for HR 543 and HR 164 & S.346, at the top of the right side column.    

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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