VAM Email Alert: February 2021

February 2021


** House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman To Prioritize Veterans Facing Toxic Exposure
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On February 22, 2021, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Takano announced his priorities for the 117th Congress. We were pleased to see that the chairman intends to prioritize addressing the toxic exposure issues veterans are facing.

Chairman Takano stated “We need to recognize toxic exposure as a cost of war. Passing the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act last Congress was a massive step to ensure those exposed to toxic substances during their service are cared for, but it took more than 40 years. The burden of proof shouldn’t be on our veterans, and there’s no reason that they and their survivors should have to fight VA for the care and benefits they earned. If America is willing to send our servicemembers into harm’s way to defend our democracy, then she must be willing to ensure we take care of all those who have borne the battle.”

To view more about the Chairman’s priorities for the 117^th Congress, please click here (https://veterans.house.gov/news/press-releases/chairman-takano-announces-priorities-for-the-117th-congress) .


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Bipartisan Efforts to Improve Vets’ Access To Vaccines
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Bipartisan groups in both the House and Senate have been actively working to ensure veterans and their caregivers have access to COVID-19 vaccinations. In the House of Representatives, Chairman Takano and Ranking Member Bost of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee introduced the VA VACCINE Act, which is a bill designed to help the VA expand access to vaccinations. Senators have also been actively working to ensure veterans have access to vaccines. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester and Ranking Member Jerry Moran have been working with the Biden Administration to increase the supply of vaccines available to the VA.

To view more about the VA VACCINE Act here (https://veterans.house.gov/news/press-releases/02/24/2021/chairman-takano-ranking-member-bost-introduce-va-vaccine-act-to-immediately-expand-vaccine-access-for-veterans-and-caregivers) .

To view more about the Senator’s efforts to increase the vaccine supply available to the VA click here (https://www.veterans.senate.gov/newsroom/news/moran-tester-urge-top-biden-administration-covid-19-response-officials-to-prioritize-vets-in-vaccine-supply-chain) .


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VA Secretary Denis McDonough Confirmed by the Senate
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On February 8, 2021 the Senate voted to confirm President Biden’s nominee to lead the VA, Denis McDonough. McDonough previously served as President Obama’s Chief of Staff. Those supportive of his confirmation believe he has the reputation for successfully dealing with challenges within the government and has demonstrated an ability to work through many of the issues leading the VA presents. Those opposed to his confirmation state concerns because he is not a veteran himself. He was confirmed with overwhelming support with a vote of 87-7 in his favor.
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