Sunday, May 26, 2013

BWN Act now has 105 cosponsors


As of Thursday, May 23, 2013, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2013, HR 543 has 105 cosponsors.  69 Democratic and 36 Republican US Representatives have now signed on to the bill.  The website www.govtrack.us now gives the bill a 16% chance of getting out of committee and a 6% chance of being enacted.   It now resides in the Disability and Memorial Affairs Sub-committee of the US House Committee on Veterans Affairs. 


Those percentages reflect a weak effort by the BWN veterans as a group to reach their Representatives and get them to sign on.  We need 200 more Representatives to sign on to get the Committee’s attention enough to move the bill to the floor for a vote.  And that should be enough to pass the bill and send it to the Senate, where it would likely get rolled into a Defense Appropriations bill later this year. 



But nothing will happen if YOU don’t get your Representative on board.  Call their local office today and ask for an appointment at that office to meet with the Representative, then go see him or her and tell them to get behind the bill and why! 


Don’t leave this task to other Veterans.  It requires a team effort with everyone pulling their share of the weight.  

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

Copyright © 2005-2013: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Ninth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

FRA Legislative Update

Our good friends at the Fleet Reserve Association send out a weekly newsletter updating the goings on in Washington, DC. 

Here is the part of this week's newsletter relevant to our readers here:

-----------------------------------

House Subcommittee Rejects Pay Cap, Higher Health Care Fees
The House Armed Services' Subcommittee on Military Personnel marked up its portion of the House version of the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA, H.R.1960) this week. The panel rejected the Administration's request to establish an enrollment fee for TRICARE-for-Life (TFL) and TRICARE Standard beneficiaries and increase TRICARE Prime enrollment fees and pharmacy co-pays. The subcommittee approved a 1.8-percent military pay raise for FY 2014 to keep pace with non-military salary increases, despite only a one-percent increase requested in the Pentagon's budget proposal. These are major legislative victories for FRA, however the battle to halt drastic increases to TRICARE fees, provide an active duty pay raise that's at least equal to the Employment Cost Index (ECI) and protect other benefits is just beginning. It's clear that FRA shipmates' voices are being heard on Capitol Hill.

The subcommittee's mark also includes provisions that would prohibit command authorities from dismissing all but minor sexual offenses from a court martial and/or reducing a guilty finding in a sexual assault case to a lesser offense. Numerous amendments on sexual assault are expected to be offered when the full House Armed Services Committee marks up the bill in two weeks.

Other provisions include:
·     Reducing overall military endstrength by more than 40,000, including a 7,100 reduction in Marine Corps manpower. (The Navy's manpower would increase by 900);
·     Mandating minimum notification of 120 days for mobilization of Reserve units;
·     Protecting child-custody arrangements while a military parent is on deployment;
·     Expanding Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) mortgage protections for service members, surviving spouses, and veterans;
·     Providing $25 million in Impact Aid for public schools impacted by military population; and
·     Prohibiting another round of base closures and realignments (BRAC).

The Senate Armed Services' Personnel Subcommittee begins markup of the Senate's version of the bill on June 11, 2013. Once both chambers approve their respective versions of the NDAA, a conference committee will be appointed to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills.  Members are urged to use the Action Center at www.fra.org to share their views with lawmakers on these and other pending issues that impact their earned benefits.

For more details, read Tom Philpott's syndicated "Military Update" column (5-23-2013) at http://www.fra.org/AM/template.cfm?template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=15185&section=news

House and Senate Approve Stolen Valor Act
The House and Senate approved the FRA-supported "Stolen Valor Act" this week and the measure now awaits White House approval. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Heck (Nev.), protects the integrity of military awards by making it a crime to knowingly benefit from fraudulent claims of military decorations. In June of 2012, the Supreme Court (United States v. Alvarez) overturned a previous Stolen Valor law on the grounds that it infringed on constitutionally-protected free speech.

This bill makes a key change to the previous language that should withstand constitutional scrutiny because the legislation narrowly focuses on those who seek to benefit from their misrepresentations of military awards - not the lie itself. FRA thanks the nearly 1,600 shipmates who contacted their senators on short notice this week, urging them to "fast-track" the bill for rapid approval by the full Senate. Your efforts paid dividends!

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If you are not a member of the FRA you should be.   

Click here to join the FRA today!


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

Copyright © 2005-2013: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Ninth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

American Heroes COLA Act [HR 570]


Representative Jon Runyan [R-NJ 3] has introduced a bill that keeps the Annual COLAs for VA Benefits permanently tied to the Social Security increases, not the “Chained CPI” COLAs that some in Congress want to impose.  Runyan, a long-time All-Pro offensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, introduced the bill in February of this year, and on Tuesday, May 21st it was passed by the US House and now goes to the Senate. 

We have added a link to the Veterans Legislation of Note list near the top of the right column.   Click the link there to read the bill and to check its progress. 

Keep up with this one.  The Chained CPI would cut annual increases by more than half of the little bit now added.  For example, if we were fortunate enough to get a 3.5% COLA next year because that is  the amount that Social Security will be increased, if the Chained CPI is put in place to determine COLAs, it would be about 1.2%. 

Urge your Senators to get this passed ASAP!

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

Copyright © 2005-2013: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Ninth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Urgent!!! Contact your Senators Today!

Our great friends at the Fleet Reserve Association have put  out a call for support on the Stolen Valor Act.   This act will increase the criminal penalties for those who falsely claim military medals and ranks they never earned. 

This kind of crime makes all Veterans look bad.   Please go to the FRA's Action Center and fill out the contact form for your Senators.  


Here is what the FRA has to say:

"Support "Stolen Valor Act" (H.R. 258) in Senate

Stop Fraudulent Claims about Military Awards!






The “Stolen Valor Act” (H.R. 258) recently passed the House (390-3) and Senator Dean Heller (NV) has requested that the bill be passed by the Senate under unanimous consent, which would allow the bill to be put on a fast track and approved as early as this week. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Heck (NV), is designed to protect the integrity of military awards by making it a crime to knowingly benefit from making fraudulent claims about military awards and decorations. In June of 2012, the Supreme Court (United States v. Alvarez) overturned a previous stolen valor law on the grounds that it infringed on constitutionally-protected free speech. This bill makes a key change to the previous language that should withstand constitutional scrutiny because the legislation narrowly focuses on those who seek to benefit from their misrepresentations of the receipt of military awards - not the lie itself.  Members are urged to use the Action Center to contact their Senators immediately to ask them to support the bill."  

Click here to access the FRA's Action Center and click on the first box on the list.   

If you are a member and are logged in to the FRA website or have used the action center before, your information should be in the form at the bottom.  If not, fill it in and click Send Message at the bottom, the text of the message is already there, but you can add to it if you want.  I did not as it says what they want it to say.

If you are not a member of this fine organization you should be.   

Click here to join the FRA today!

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

Copyright © 2005-2013: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Ninth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.