In This Issue:
1. VFW Legislative Alert Supports GI Bill for 21st Century
2. House Hearings on Disability Claims, Homelessness
3. President's Statement on Iraq
4. VFW Travels to Southeast Asia
1. VFW Legislative Alert Supports GI Bill for 21st Century: We are arriving at a critical moment for the GI Bill for the 21st Century! This week, a new and improved S. 22, "The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007," was introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 5740 to covers all education costs. Please call or visit your congressional district or Washington offices and urge your legislators to co-sponsor either S. 22 or H.R. 5740. A new GI Bill for the 21st Century is one of the highest VFW legislative priorities. For information about your elected official use the attached link: http://capwiz.com/vfw/dbq/officials/
or find a listing of offices in your local phone book.
2. House Hearings on Disability Claims, Homelessness: The House Veterans Affairs Committee held two hearings this week.
• VFW testified at the hearing on a draft bill to improve the disability claims processing system. Improving the system has been, and remains, one of the VFW's top priorities. The claims backlog continues to grow, especially as the number and complexity of each individual claim increases, but the answers to the problem are not simple, and it cannot be fixed overnight. The VFW supports some of the provisions of the bill, and offered suggestions to fix others. To read our full testimony, go to: http://veterans.house.gov/hearings/hearing.aspx?newsid=223
• The hearing on homeless veterans programs took testimony from a number of organizations, including a few that provide direct services to homeless veterans through VA grant programs. The VFW continues to push for full funding for these vital programs. A continued emphasis on these programs is going to be important, given the increasing rate of mental illness and the difficulties many OEF/OIF veterans are having with finding meaningful employment. For more, go to: http://veterans.house.gov/hearings/hearing.aspx?newsid=220
3. President's Statement on Iraq: VFW Washington Office directors and staff attended the White House press conference yesterday where President Bush provided an update on the Iraq War. He announced the long awaited news that Army deployments will return to 12 months for those deploying after Aug. 1, and stipulated that "Army units will have at least a year at home for every year in the field." The President also outlined the progress being made on the security, economic, political and diplomatic fronts by the Iraqi government. As Iraq's economy continues to grow and oil revenues rise, the U.S. share of the cost for Iraq's security and reconstruction will continue to decline.
To read the President's statement and view the video, go to: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/04/20080410-2.html
To read VFW National Commander George Lisicki's press release, go to: http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=4533
4. VFW Travels to Southeast Asia: VFW Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Glen Gardner and Washington Office Executive Director Bob Wallace recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Thailand, Vietnam and Laos to gain firsthand, up-to-date knowledge and facts of the ongoing U.S. and host nation efforts to resolve the fate of missing Americans from the Vietnam War. They met with Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command officials, U.S. Ambassadors and diplomatic personnel, and foreign government officials in Bangkok, Hanoi and Vientiane. They also accompanied JPAC recovery teams to excavation sites in Vietnam and Laos.