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Posted at 01:04 PM on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 by DD
The congressional Super Committee has thrown in the towel and admitted they cannot reach a bipartisan agreement to cut a minimum of $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next decade. Under the law passed this summer, mandatory cuts will now take place across all federal departments and agencies beginning January 2013.
Where and how much, however, is still to be determined.
Each cabinet secretary will decide where the cuts will be made after the White House Office of Management and Budget identifies which, if any, programs are exempt. Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare have been mentioned as being exempt, as have veterans programs, but no one has yet identified which veterans programs.
The VFW believes that veterans’ healthcare programs and benefits will be exempt from any cuts. Questions remain, however, about increased co-payments for visits and prescriptions, as well as charging VA category 7 and 8 veterans an annual enrollment fee. We will continue to monitor and report any new developments as they occur.
Over at the Defense Department are recommendations to change the pay and benefits of those currently serving and military retirees. The threats include changing the military retirement system for future enlistees, limiting retiree healthcare program enrollment, and imposing or increasing healthcare fees on all TRICARE programs, regardless of age. These proposals are in addition to possible reductions in force and cuts to other quality of life programs. The budget crisis has also forced defense hawks to choose between supporting people programs and new weapon systems development. Sadly, some have forgotten that it still takes people to occupy territory and to operate their shiny new aircraft, ships and tanks.
Our nation hollowed out its force after Vietnam and again after the first Gulf War. If the past 10 years have proven anything, it is that the All Volunteer Force works, but it comes with a price and a promise to maintain the quality of life programs for those few who serve. Since 9/11, many of the less than 1 percent of the population who volunteered to serve their nation have been deployed into the fight numerous times. The service-connected disabilities thousands have already received will require a strong and viable military healthcare system to return them to duty, and a strong and viable VA healthcare system to meet their lifetime care needs.
Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress, amputations, and the risk of suicide are predominate issues of a military force at war. The preservation of military and veteran benefits, improved quality and accessible healthcare, and continued medical research into alternative treatments is how our nation can properly repay those who go into harm's way.
Over the next year, many in Congress as well as thousands of registered lobbyists will be working hard to protect their special interests and programs. We must all work hard to protect the Department of Veterans Affairs health, benefits and cemetery administrations, as well as all military quality of life programs for the troops, their families and military retirees.
I ask each of you to contact your respective members of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to demand that these programs be protected. State Commanders and members of the National Legislative Committee must arrange individual face-to-face meetings with every member of their Congressional Delegation to alert them to our concerns. These meetings should be in addition to your visits to your Congressional delegations during the March 2012 Legislative Conference. I also ask that you report the responses you receive back to the VFW Action Corps at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These meetings will be in addition to a massive outreach campaign to the entire U.S. Congress that I ask National Legislative Committee members to spearhead in each state and department. We need Congress to be flooded with letters and phone calls to protect veterans' programs and military quality of life programs from any cuts. This is an obligation of every member of the VFW and their families to keep the faith with our comrades who need us to be their collective voice in Washington. Please refer to the VFW website for constant updates and the "10 for 10" issues we have raised, along with sample letters for your use.
The VFW needs you to make your voice heard now, because the most powerful message Congress can receive is from the folks who employ them — their voting constituents.
Thank you for your continued support of America’s heroes.ROBERT E. WALLACE
VFW Washington Office
Posted at 12:52 PM on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 by DD
Over the last few years, the VFW has consistently passed a resolution at the VFW National Convention calling on Congress to address the ever-growing unemployment crisis among veterans, particularly the men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. VFW then testified in support of comprehensive veterans' jobs legislation before both the House and Senate in the lead-up to the compromise bill that the president signed yesterday [Monday].
Both Republican and Democratic leaders, like House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., joined the president, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden at the White House to mark the bipartisan victory that will help veterans become more marketable employees in a cut-throat jobs market.
Continue reading at VFW On The Hill
Posted at 11:49 AM on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 by DD
This Veterans Day, a 'thank you for your service' is being paid in the form of free meals and huge discounts from patriotic businesses across the country. VFW has compiled a list of some of the opportunities service members and veterans can take advantage of in honor of the upcoming holiday.
Please note: Most companies require some form of military ID – including a U.S. Uniform Services ID Card (active/reserve/retired), Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), Photograph in uniform, be wearing uniform (if your service permits), Veterans Organization Card (e.g.,VFW), DD214, discharge paperwork, or other form of identification.
Also, some companies are franchises and policies may vary.VFW asks you to please always call ahead to verify your local businesses’ participation details and requirements.
Click to see the list of businesses
Posted at 10:57 PM on Monday, October 24, 2011 by DDThe Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation is proud to announce that for the fifth consecutive year, participating Burger King® Restaurants will be raising funds for the VFW’s Unmet Needs Program throughout the month of November through the annual Burger King® Unmet Needs Fundraiser. Over 1,200 Burger King® Restaurants have participated since 2007 and have raised over $1.3 million in support of the program. Burger King® customers are encouraged to donate $1 or more at participating locations across the country as the proceeds will help military families in need pay for essentials such as rent/mortgage, utilities, medical expenses, vehicle repairs and food.
Posted at 10:36 PM on Monday, October 24, 2011 by DD
Posted at 10:33 AM on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 by DDMembership recruitment video shot at the 112th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars August 27-September 1, 2011. Our thanks to all who participated in the production. Please share this video with all of your friends and veterans on your social networks. And of course, if you have not yet joined the VFW, click here to join today!
Posted at 05:03 AM on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 by DDSeveral headlines from the Department of Veterans Affairs in recent days. Click the links to read the full stories.
Statement from Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on the American Jobs Act - Shinseki comments on the proposed Act which includes support for veteran jobs.
VA Announces Expansion of Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it will expand its pilot for the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER), which enables sharing of Veterans’ health records.
VA Streamlines Online Applications for Health Benefits Renewal - Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has automated its online Health Benefits Renewal (10-10EZR) form as part of its ongoing effort to streamline access to benefits.
VA Posts Online List of Ships Associated with Presumptive Agent Orange Exposure - Veterans who served aboard U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships operating on the waters of Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, may be eligible to receive Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation for 14 medical conditions associated with presumptive exposure to Agent Orange.
Posted at 04:42 AM on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 by DDAmerica’s largest organization of combat veterans has elected a Vietnam War veteran to head the 1.5 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
Richard L. DeNoyer, a resident of Middleton, Massachusetts, was elected VFW Commander-in-Chief on September 1, 2011, during the 112th VFW National Convention, held August 27 – September 1, in San Antonio, Texas.
Click here to read DeNoyer's acceptance speech.
Also elected were John Hamilton, Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief, of St. Augustine, Florida, and William Thien, Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief, of Georgetown, Indiana.
Several major measures affecting the operation of the Veterans of Foreign Wars were also approved during the business sesssion. Click here to read a summary by North Carolina VFW Member Ken Sellers. For more information on convention events, visit the VFW.org Summary page.
And finally, watch the slideshow below for some random photos from the convention.
Posted at 08:38 AM on Monday, August 22, 2011 by DD
KANSAS CITY, Mo., August 22, 2011 - The White House will not be sending a representative to the Veterans of Foreign Wars 112th National Convention in San Antonio, Texas, drawing harsh criticism and a rebuke from the leadership of the nation's largest combat veteran's organization.
"The VFW has had a long-standing tradition of inviting the sitting president to address our convention. We want to know where he stands on veterans' affairs, and we want those remarks made in public and on the record," said Richard L. Eubank, the national commander of the nearly 2 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.
"When the President is unable to attend, it has always been customary for the White House to choose a high-level administration official as an alternative speaker," Eubank continued. "It is an insult of the highest magnitude that for the first time in the history of the VFW, the White House has apparently decided that this great and iconic organization of combat veterans and all of its members are not worthy of its notice by not at least offering a first-tier speaker from the administration."
Eubank, a Marine Corps retiree and Vietnam combat veteran from Eugene, Ore., was also critical of Texas Governor, Rick Perry; "The VFW also has a tradition of inviting the governor of the host state where its annual convention is being held to come and welcome and greet our convention delegates. Although Governor Perry was similarly sent an invitation 3 months ago, apparently our invitation was deemed not important enough for the governor’s office to at least accept or decline the invitation. Governor Perry's candidacy for president does not provide him an excuse for bad manners. The White House and Governor Perry can rest assured that the 2 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliaries will remember this discourteous treatment for a very long time to come."
Annually, the VFW's National Convention plays host to a number of other speakers as well, including prominent members of the Cabinet, military and civic leaders, business leaders and a host of everyday people honored for their exemplary service.
Posted at 06:34 PM on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 by DDDear VFW, Ladies Auxiliary and Supporters:
The president this afternoon signed congressional legislation to raise the federal debt limit and reduce government spending. The larger question is now how this all impacts veterans, service members, their families and survivors.
The measure passed by the Senate today and in the House yesterday will raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion. An additional $500 billion could come in the fall, provided two-thirds of Congress approves. The final increase, expected early next year, would provide the Treasury enough borrowing power to pay its bills into 2013.
The deal also calls for sharp cuts in agency spending --- about $917 billion over the next decade --- starting with a $25 billion reduction in fiscal year 2012, which begins Oct. 1, with a second set of reductions coming later this year via a special committee charged with wringing at least $1.2 trillion more over the next decade. If the committee fails to act --- or if Congress does not adopt its recommendations by Dec. 23 --- government spending would be cut across the board by the same amount, with the reductions split 50:50 between security and non-security programs.
Either way, many DOD and VA programs and services could be negatively impacted, which would counteract everything the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. has worked hard to create over the past 112 years. The VFW and our supporters cannot let this happen.
On the VFW website is a list of 10 services and programs the organization believes are most vulnerable to being cut or curtailed in order to help pay for 10 years of war. The "10 for 10" list will form the basis of VFW's legislative efforts and calls to action to its membership and grassroots supporters. Now is the time to re-engage with your members of Congress.
Yours in Comradeship,
ROBERT E. WALLACE
VFW Washington Office
Posted at 08:27 PM on Monday, July 25, 2011 by DD(via The Pentagon Channel)
Posted at 08:11 PM on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 by DD
KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 1, 2011 - The national commander of America's largest and oldest major combat veterans' organization is appalled over allegations of religious censorship at one of the nation’s national cemeteries, calling it a case of “bureaucracy running amok.”
“This is a point in case of bureaucracy…or rather, a classic example of a bureaucrat running amok. In spite of VA policy, the cemetery director is making up her own rules and has imposed hurtful, unilateral restrictions of her own choosing,” said Richard L. Eubank, the national commander of the 2.1 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.Texas-based Liberty Institute has filed suit on behalf of the VFW, American Legion, and The National Memorial Ladies over allegations of religious hostility and unlawful censorship by the VA and its director of the Houston National Cemetery. "They've told the VFW and the American Legion that they cannot have prayer during the burial services of our veterans, unless the family requests it in writing and submits the prayer for pre-approval," said Liberty Institute general counsel Jeff Mateer.
Posted at 09:26 AM on Saturday, May 14, 2011 by DDIn This Issue:
1. Defense Bill Includes TRICARE Increases
2. New Vet Employment-Transition Bill
3. House Hearings
4. Korean War MIA Identified
1. Defense Bill Includes TRICARE Increases: The House Armed Services Committee approved its version of the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act this week. The $533 billion defense bill (H.R. 1540) provides a 1.6-percent military pay increase, reduces the SBP-DIC offset for survivors, and would increase TRICARE fees for working-age military retirees. Beginning with FY 2013, the committee voted to link future TRICARE increases to annual cost-of-living-adjustments, or COLAs, which has been zero for military retirees for the past two years. The committee did not vote to prohibit a fee increase for FY 2012, which now opens the door for DOD to raise TRICARE fees by 13 percent this fall. The VFW will continue to oppose all TRICARE fee increases. Military retirees paid for their healthcare through long and faithful service; for their children being uprooted repeatedly from school; for their spouses not being able to have full careers; for their homes accumulating no equity; and for some, for not being fully marketable because they served so many years in uniform. The House, then the Senate, have to agree on the bill before it goes to the president for his signature. The VFW urges you to redouble your efforts and get your representatives to reject the TRICARE increase when the bill comes up for a floor vote, and to contact your senators to reject the proposal if it makes it through the House. To take action against the proposed TRICARE increase, go to http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/
2. New Vet Employment/Transition Bill: Senate VA Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced VFW-supported legislation to aggressively improve the unemployment rate among veterans. S.951, the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, would require the Departments of Defense, VA and Labor to work together to improve the Transition Assistance Program and to identify barriers in translating military jobs into civilian employment. The bill hopes to offer unique job skills training, create new direct federal hiring authority, and improve veteran mentorship programs in the private sector. According to Labor Department statistics, about 27 percent of veterans ages 20-24 are currently unemployed. Read the committee press release at http://veterans.senate.gov/
3. House Hearings: The House VA Committee cleared several VFW-supported bills, which now move to the House floor for a vote. They include:
* HR 1383, Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011, to grandfather veterans attending private schools who were adversely affected by the changes made in the GI Bill last Congress. It also increases the cap to $27,000 from $17,500 for students already enrolled in private schools under Chapter 33.
* HR 1657, legislation that would improve VA's enforcement of service-disabled, veteran-owned small business contracting.
* HR 1441, a bill to ban reserving burial and interment locations at Arlington National Cemetery, and clears the way for a memorial on Chaplains Hill to honor Jewish chaplains who died defending our country.
* HR 1407, The Veterans Cost of Living Adjustment Act of 2011, would provide a cost-of-living increase to veterans' disability compensation rates and other benefits. It would also provide a five-year extension to VA adaptive grants program for severely wounded veterans residing in a family member's home.
For more information visit the committee website at http://veterans.house.gov/.
4. Korean War MIA Identified: The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced identification of remains belonging to Army Cpl. Primo C. Carnabuci, of Old Saybrook, Conn. On Nov. 1, 1950, Carnabuci's unit, the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, was forced to conduct a fighting withdrawal from their position along the Kuryong River, near Unsan, North Korea. He was among almost 600 men to be reported missing from the battle. Read more at http://www.defense.gov/
Posted at 09:19 AM on Saturday, May 14, 2011 by DD
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is unique because all of our members have served overseas in a combat zone. Our nation is in debt to all of those who served, and we understand that returning home and reintegrating into society can cause stress in many aspects of life. Because of this, VFW is participating in a campaign with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to increase awareness of the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1).
The campaign revolves around the confidential Veterans Crisis Line (formerly the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline), establishing a unique identity designed to lower the threshold for Veterans and their families to make that critical call for help.
The line, available 24 hours a day and seven days a week, has answered more than 390,000 calls and has made more than 13,000 life-saving rescues since its launch.The campaign is a national outreach effort to increase awareness and use of the confidential Veterans Crisis Line and online chat service, support and promote broader VA suicide prevention efforts, and promote help-seeking behaviors among Veterans.
Posted at 09:12 AM on Saturday, May 14, 2011 by DDVisit your local participating restaurant and support the VFW Foundation.
Participating Buffalo Wild Wings® locations are showing their support of the troops by partnering with the VFW Foundation to support the Return the Favor™ campaign. Participating restaurants will donate 10 percent of guest’s food purchase when the guest shows their military ID card, VFW membership card or Return the Favor card. To find participating restaurants or to print a Return the Favor card, visit http://www.returnthefavor.org/. The program will run from May 16 through June 12.
Posted at 09:01 AM on Saturday, May 14, 2011 by DDThe VFW Communications Department has selected the winners of the 2011 VFW WebAward Competition.
This year nearly 60 entries were received. Judging was based on navigation, load time, design and overall content. Entries were divided into two separate categories: VFW Departments and VFW Posts/Districts.
The first-place winner in the Department category is the Department of Wisconsin. Second place has been awarded to the Department of Pacific Areas.
In the Post/District category, Post 5702 has been named this year’s first-place winner, with Post 5727 being awarded second place.
This year’s contest proved especially difficult to judge due to the number of quality websites submitted by our Posts, Departments and Districts.
Everyone who submitted an entry deserves praise for their hard work and creativity. Please continue to keep up the good work! We look forward to next year’s competition.
Posted at 03:24 PM on Friday, April 15, 2011 by DD
Posted at 03:23 PM on Friday, April 15, 2011 by DD
VFW Checkpoint Magazine Mar/April 2011 -
Posted at 06:36 AM on Monday, March 21, 2011 by DD
4. Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans: The U.S. Senate declared March 30 as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day,” agreeing unanimously to a resolution introduced by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. On March 30, 1973, U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. The Senate is encouraging everyone this March 30 to recognize Vietnam veterans for their service and sacrifice. For the senator’s remarks, go to http://www.veterans.senate.
Continue reading Washington Weekly
Posted at 06:35 AM on Monday, March 21, 2011 by DD(via The Pentagon Channel)
Posted at 11:52 PM on Friday, March 11, 2011 by DDIn This Issue:
1. VFW Legislative Conference Wrap-up
2. Caregiver Hearing
3. GITMO Trials to Resume
4. VFW Invited to Buckles Funeral
5. Five WWII MIAs Identified
1. VFW Legislative Conference Wrap-up: More than 600 VFW and Ladies Auxiliary members attended the annual VFW Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. Highlights ranged from the selection of Kelsey Woo from California as the 2011 Voice of Democracy winner to presentations from VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright, USMC, as well as VFW members meeting with their U.S. representatives and senators. VFW National Commander Richard Eubank hosted 100 wounded warriors and their families to dinner, and met with the Coast Guard Commandant and Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, and with the Marine Corps Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, before testifying Tuesday before a joint hearing of the House and Senate VA Committees. He met with President Obama on Wednesday to discuss issues important to America's veterans, servicemembers and families.
Continue Reading Washington Weekly
For more information, and other video, go to www.vfw.org.
Posted at 05:16 AM on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 by DDSince 1949, VFW's annual National Legislative and Youth Scholarship Conference has provided an opportunity for VFW’s Commander-in-Chief and other key leaders to testify on behalf of veterans on Capitol Hill.
Topics covered this year will include: minimizing the VA claims backlog, decreasing veteran unemployment, improving VA health care and many more.
Also at the event, the winners of the Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen scholarship contests will be announced. Each national winner will read their winning essay before conference delegates and will then be presented with their winnings.
For the second year in a row, VFW will stream live video from the National Legislative and Youth Scholarship Conference in Washington D.C., March 5-9, on www.vfw.org.
Streaming will begin with the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen Parade of Winners at 6:00 p.m. (EST) on March 6.
Posted at 09:55 AM on Thursday, February 17, 2011 by DD
WASHINGTON (February 16, 2011) — In the rollout of their fiscal year 2012 budget submission, the Department of Defense on Monday announced plans to offset huge Tricare medical program expenses by increasing the annual enrollment fees paid by working-age military retirees — first by 13 percent, then by linking future increases to double-digit medical inflation. The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is against both plans.
VFW National Commander Richard L. Eubank, a retired Marine and Vietnam combat veteran from Eugene, Ore., believes tying future increases to medical inflation is an escalator clause that will raise Tricare premiums so high that retirees will disenroll and look elsewhere for coverage.
"Asking someone to voluntarily give up 20 or more years of their youth on the simple promise of a pension and lifelong medical care for themselves and their spouses is a cost this nation and our government should be more than willing to bear," he said. "Any changes to how military retirees are treated will send an ominous signal to hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women who may be contemplating military careers."
Posted at 09:52 AM on Thursday, February 17, 2011 by DD
WASHINGTON D.C., Feb. 15, 2011 — The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is appreciative of the funding increase President Obama proposed Monday for the Department of Veterans Affairs, but he has some serious concerns about proposed reductions in programs ranging from construction and infrastructure to medical and prosthetic research.
"The VFW appreciates the proposed increase because it recognizes that the proper care and treatment of wounded and disabled veterans are ongoing costs of war," said Richard L. Eubank, who leads the 2.1 million-member VFW and its Auxiliaries. "Our concern, however, is that the total discretionary request of almost $62 billion is just not enough for VA to improve all the programs and services on their watch."
The proposed VA budget for fiscal year 2012 is $132.2 billion, of which $70.3 billion is for mandatory benefits such as disability compensation and pension. The remaining $61.9 billion is discretionary funding, primarily for the Veterans Health Administration, which represents about a 10-percent increase over FY 2010 funding, but just 3 percent more than the proposed but never passed FY 2011 budget.
In contrast, the Independent Budget recommends $65.3 billion, or 14.4 percent above 2010 levels and 8 percent about 2011. The VFW coauthors the Independent Budget—now in its 25th year—with AMVETs, Disabled American Veterans and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Posted at 05:32 AM on Monday, January 31, 2011 by DD(via The Pentagon Channel)
Posted at 05:25 AM on Monday, January 31, 2011 by DDWASHINGTON, D.C., January 28, 2011 — America's oldest and largest major combat veterans' organization announced it will do everything within its power to defeat a plan introduced by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to cut $4.5 billion from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"No way, no how, will we let this proposal get any traction in Congress," said Richard L. Eubank, the national commander of the 2.1 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.
On her website, the three-term congresswoman lists more than $400 billion in suggestions to cut federal spending. The VA suggestion would cap increases to VA healthcare spending, and reduce disability compensation to account for Social Security Disability Insurance payments — in other words, an offset. She says her plan is intended to generate discussion.
"The only discussion the VFW wants is to tell the congresswoman that her plan is totally out of step with America's commitment to our veterans," said Eubank, a retired Marine and Vietnam combat veteran from Eugene, Ore.