In This Issue:
1. House VA Committee Hearings
2. Senate Passes VA Home Package
3. New GI Bill Needs Your Help
1. House VA Committee Hearings:
- On Tuesday, VFW testified before the Subcommittee on Health on several bills designed to enhance health care options for veterans and their families, such as Spina Bifida, epilepsy research centers, substance use disorder treatment and prevention, and dental care. The VFW has a resolution on the epilepsy research centers and strongly supported the bill, noting that the prevalence of brain injuries from the current war is likely to lead to an increased number of epilepsy and seizure disorders in the coming years.
- On Wednesday, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held a hearing on 13 bills under consideration. The VFW testified in support of all the bills, which included several that would improve education benefits for servicemembers as well as Guard and Reserve members serving since 9/11. The VFW once again stressed support for a GI Bill that would cover the full cost of education for all veterans. Other bills discussed would improve transition benefits, make changes to USSERA, and enhance VA's adaptive housing and home loan guaranty programs to bring them more in line with today's markets.
- To read our testimony or for more on the hearings including the webcast visit the House VA website at: http://veterans.house.gov/ 2. Senate Passes VA Home Package
: Earlier this week, the Senate passed a large housing package aimed at increasing housing opportunities for veterans and offering mortgage relief for returning servicemembers. It also increased VA Home Loan limits to the levels offered in the Economic Stimulus package for other federal home loans. The Dodd-Shelby Housing bill includes:
**An increase in the length of time a lender must wait before starting foreclosure involving a returning servicemember, from three to nine months
**One year of relief from increases in mortgage interest rates for returning servicemembers.
**The establishment of a counseling program carried out by DOD to assist servicemembers and veterans with financial issues
**Eligibility for VA-provided home improvement and structural alteration payments to totally disabled members of the Armed Forces before their discharge or release from the Armed Forces
**Extension of specially adapted housing benefits to certain veterans and servicemembers with severe burns
The bill now moves to the House for action. 3. New GI Bill Needs Your Help:
We are arriving at a critical moment for the new GI Bill for the 21st Century! Last 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. The new bill has 206 co-sponsors but needs your help to call or visit your elected members and urge their support of either S. 22 or H.R. 5740. A new GI Bill for the 21st Century is one of the highest VFW legislative priorities. Use this link to contact your members - http://capwiz.com/vfw/dbq/officials/
- find their offices in your local phone book.