Partnership to Help Influence Veteran Issues in Congress

Every day, lawmakers in Washington, D.C. make decisions on important issues impacting the health and welfare of veterans, yet only 18.7 percent of Congress and 1 percent of their staff members have served in the military.  HillVets and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) have partnered in a program that will bring more vets to Capitol Hill through a fellowship program.  Having staff members who served in the military and understand how policy and legislation will affect veterans can provide valuable insight for lawmakers.

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Federal Register: Final Ruling on Diseases Related to Camp Lejeune Water Supply

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has amended its regulations regarding presumptive service connection, adding certain diseases associated with contaminants present in the base water supply at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987.

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Leading Veteran Service Organizations Release Their Proposed Budget for VA

Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars  have released their proposed federal budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs for this year.  The collaborative report outlines legislative and policy issues for veterans.   Topping the list of six critical issues for the 115th Congress to address is the need to “strengthen, reform and sustain the VA health care system.”

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What Exactly is VA Compensation?

There are several types of VA compensation, but most people who use the term are referring to disability compensation.  Disability compensation is a tax-free, monthly payment to eligible Veterans for the injuries and medical conditions they incurred, acquired, caught, received or aggravated while in active military service.

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VA Statement on the Inspector General’s Review of the Veterans Choice Program

Veterans Affairs (VA) has made significant improvements since the inception of the Veterans Choice Program.  In response to the Office of Inspector General’s review of the program, VA states that they are moving in the right direction, towards an integrated healthcare network that improves Veterans’ healthcare experience.  VA recognizes that even with improvements, more work needs to be done.

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VA Secretary Nominee David Shulkin Plans to Reform the Department but Not Privatize Care

Dr. David Shulkin testifies before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Feb 8th. Shulkin has been nominated to serve as the next VA Secretary. He plans to “majorly reform the department” if he’s confirmed, including far greater accountability, dramatically improved access, responsiveness, and expanded care options. One thing he says he won’t include is a move toward privatized care.

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Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Goals

In the first Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing of the 115th Congress the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Johnny Isakson, vowed that the committee will continue to work in the bipartisan fashion that has allowed for past success.  Isakson laid out his goals for reforming the Veterans Choice program and significantly lowering wait times on veterans’ appeals while continuing to work to empower veterans’ accessibility to health care.

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Lawsuit Filed to get Veterans Affairs Agent Orange Correspondence

The Virginian-Pilot and ProPublica have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), accusing the agency of denying requests for documents under the Freedom   of Information Act.  The lawsuit seeks a preliminary injunction compelling the government to immediately release correspondence about Agent Orange, an herbicide used to kill vegetation  during the Vietnam War.

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Veterans Affairs Is Allowed Exemptions From Federal Hiring Freeze

House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairmen sent a joint letter to President Trump regarding the Federal hiring freeze, saying that one of our government’s highest priorities is to provide timely, high-quality care to the men and women who have bravely served our nation in uniform, and that a robust clinical workforce is vital to achieving that goal. Subsequently, the Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary announced that the VA has exemptions to the hiring freeze that enable VA to fill essential positions and ensure that veterans …

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Confirmation of VA Secretary Nominee Anticipated

Senate leaders have scheduled a confirmation hearing for VA secretary nominee David Shulkin on  February 1st, and signaled a likely easy path to approval of his nomination.  If confirmed, the 57-year-old Shulkin, who has served as VA Under Secretary for Health since June 2015, would be the first non-veteran ever to hold the post.  Many senators and veterans advocates have signaled support for him.

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