VFW Releases 2019 Legislative Priorities
Veterans of Foreign Wars, one of the leading advocates for veterans in Washington, recently released its list of 2019 legislative priorities on issues affecting America’s veterans. With 1.6 million members, the VFW is a powerful force in Washington for America’s veterans.
Here are the top 2019 legislative priorities for veterans, according to VFW.
Tops on the VFW’s legislative priorities is to reform the “dysfunctional” federal budget process and end sequestration. Sequestration of the military budget has been an issue the VFW has been adamant about since 2013. Last March, VFW Commander Keith Harman testified before Congress and proclaimed that, “Our service members, veterans and their families are counting on you to repeal sequestration once and for all!” Military budget sequestration continues to be a major priority for the VFW in 2019.
Veterans Health Care
Veterans healthcare continues to be a top priority for America’s veterans and organizations that advocate on their behalf. VFW lists as their top priority in regards to veterans healthcare is the successful implementation of the VA MISSION Act, one of the single biggest pieces of VA reform legislation passed in decades. In addition to the MISSION Act, VFW laid out the following priorities regarding veterans healthcare:
- Reduce the number of service members and veterans who die by suicide.
- Preserve the integrity of TRICARE.
- Modernize VA and DOD health IT systems.
- Strengthen health care and research for mental health and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Third on the VFW’s list of legislative priorities is disability assistance and memorial affairs. According to their legislative priorities web page, these priorities include:
- Properly implement the modernized appeals process.
- Consider treatment of presumptive conditions as a claim for disability compensation.
- Establish presumptive disability compensation benefits for hearing loss, tinnitus, TBI, and for health conditions associated with toxic exposures.
- Increase burial allowances to account for inflation and include spouses’ information on all headstones.
- Authorize more than one adaptive automotive grant for disabled veterans.
In addition to the top three priorities listed above, VFW is also focused on legislation pertaining to education, employment, quality of life and national security. Only time will tell if our divided Congress will be able to put their differences aside and pass legislation that benefits America’s veterans. We certainly hope they can.
The mission of the Veterans Action Network is to engage in the political and policy process at the local, state, and federal level to hold elected officials responsible for how the US government wages war, and how it provides the proper support to veterans afterwards. Additionally we seek to engage veterans and the public in political action on veterans’ issues and matters of war.