Global Veterans & Military Families Caucus



  • The Veterans and Military Families Caucus is made up of DA members from around the world who are willing and able to advocate on issues important to the veterans and their families within the United States of America and those living abroad. The Caucus will accept any DA member.

    Democrats Abroad (DA) honors the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces; their service deserves our deepest gratitude and respect. Government policies must reflect the interests of those who are serving and those who have served, including their families. This caucus will work within DA to achieve this endeavor. 

    We share and adhere to the principles and demands expressed in the platforms of both the Democratic Party and DA regarding veterans, active military and their families abroad.

    We recognize and appreciate that all of the various groups, ethnicities, persuasions, identities, and beliefs that make up American society are present in our military; we share issues and concerns in common with the other DA caucuses. Discrimination has no place in the military and its ancillary organizations, nor the Veterans and Military Families Caucus.

    GOALS

    ∙ Reach out to veterans, active duty and reserve military members as well as their dependents living abroad to encourage them to register to vote and to engage them in advocacy for our policy positions;

    ∙ Provide a forum for DA members to understand better the issues and concerns affecting our military forces, veterans, and their families outside of the United States;

    ACTIONS

    ∙ Provide support for visits to wounded/recovering warriors and caregivers at overseas U.S. military hospitals in conjunction with like-minded external organizations;

    ∙ Exchange information and concerns with other DA caucuses and interest groups regarding relevant issues and shared concerns to ensure that as they impact veterans and military families, they are communicated among the broader DA community for a successful joint response;

    ∙ Organize participation in Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies at U.S. landmarks abroad such as military cemeteries, battle sites, and places of historical U.S. military significance;

    ∙ Facilitate get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts for veterans and military families; also develop sensible and sensitive strategies for encouraging active service members at U.S. overseas military bases to vote;

    ∙ Establish and maintain contact with other American political organizations to find areas of joint concern regarding U.S. veterans and military dependents;

    ∙ Always strive to improve the DA Platform and organize advocacy efforts towards U.S. law and policymakers for issues pertinent to veterans, active military, and their families living abroad;

    RESPONSIBILITIES

    ORGANIZATION

    Email:  VeteransCaucus@democratsabroad.org 

     

    DA Global Veterans & Military Families Caucus Leadership:

    John Eastwood
    | Taiwan Chair, DA rep to DNC, DNC Veterans and Military Families Council
    Anna Marie Mattson
    | VMF Caucus Acting Chair, DPCA Voting Rep for DA France
    Michael Lee
    | VMF Steering Committee
    Michael Ramos
    | DA Hispanic Caucus; DA Affirmative Action Committee; DA Veterans and Military Families Caucus; DA Australia (Victoria); DNC Labor Council
    See all Leaders

    News

    News from DC - May 31, 2020

    CONGRESS

    Sen. Duckworth (D-IL) introduced S. 3791, the National Guard COVID-19 Response Stability Act. The bill is currently pending in the Senate Armed Services Committee. The bill would empower governors to extend federal deployments of their Guard units through the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. [Bill text not yet publicly available.]

    • The House version of this bill is H.R. 6980, introduced by Rep. Kuster (D-NH-2), and is currently pending in the House Armed Services Committee. [Bill text not yet publicly available.]

    On June 3rd, the following hearings will take place:

    • Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on: “Fiscal Year 2021 Budget and 2022 Advance Appropriations Requests, and Fiscal Year 2020 Enacted CARES Act Supplemental Appropriations for the Department of Veterans Affairs”
    • House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health will hold a virtual hearing: “Mission Readiness: VA’s Preparedness for Natural Disasters During a Pandemic”

    Video: Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction & Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing on: “Department of Veterans Affairs - Response to COVID-19” (video begins at 3 minutes, 54 seconds)

    Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the following three bills by simple voice vote:

    1. H.R. 6168 – the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act, introduced by Rep. Luria (D-VA-2). This bill would direct the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to increase, as of December 1, 2020, the rates of veterans’ disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children. The percentage increase in benefits would be the same as the cost-of-living increase for Social Security recipients. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
    2. S. 3414 – the Major Medical Facility Authorization Act, introduced by Sen. Moran (R-KS). This bill would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs’ to carry out specified major medical facility projects during FY2020. There are seven projects: West LA, CA; San Diego, CA; Livermore, CA; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Manhattan, NY; Alameda, CA; Louisville, KY. The bill now moves to the White House for Trump’s signature into law.
    3. S. 3084 – A bill to modify the limitation on pay for certain high-level employees and officers of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, introduced by Sen. Moran (R-KS). This bill amends title 38 of the U.S. Code to modify the limitation on pay for certain employees and officers of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The bill now moves to the White House for Trump’s signature into law.

    Details: Upcoming webinar with IAVA’s Jeremy Butler and U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) to discuss veterans’ access to health care and programs to assist veterans in need

    RECENT ISSUE:

    • Video: Trump administration cuts National Guard deployment a day short of benefits accrual
    • House Letter Calling on Trump to Extend National Guard Activation to Combat COVID-19

    RESPONSE:

    • Bipartisan, bicameral letter from members of Congress to Trump regarding National Guard benefits for COVID-19 response
    • American Legion press release
    • Letter to DoD regarding states and the National Guard

    House Armed Services Committee press release: Statement in response to the Navy granting its first waiver to allow a transgender service member to remain in uniform

    Article: Sam Johnson, Vietnam POW who became a Texas congressman, dies at 89

    Article: New Mexico senator presents veterans' histories to Library of Congress

    Article: Sen. Booker renews effort to get 74 sailors' names added to Vietnam Veterans Memorial

    Article: Veterans Affairs budget hearing represents first steps toward normal operations for Congress

    Video: Congressman Lieu (D-CA-33) speaks to Democrats Abroad

    Article: Lawmakers call on VA to provide more data on minority veterans affected by COVID-19

    Video: Last week, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs held a virtual forum on: “Virtual Forum: Veterans' Disability Examinations in the Time of COVID-19: A Way Forward” (video begins at 8 minutes, 16 seconds)

    Video: the Women Veterans Task Force held a virtual roundtable on: “Resilience and Coping: Mental Health of Women Veterans” (video begins at 3 minutes, 47 seconds)

    Video: Two weeks ago, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman spoke with Jose Ramos, Wounded Warrior Project’s (WWP) Vice President of Government and Community Relations, to discuss the unique challenges faced by women veterans during the pandemic and veterans’ ability to access healthcare while unemployed

    Tweet: For Memorial Day, Rep. Lamb (D-PA-17) paid respect at a memorial service

    Tweet: For Memorial Day, Rep. Pappas (D-NH-1) attended local observances

    Tweet: For Memorial Day, Rep. Levin (D-CA-49) attended a local event

    Instagram: For Memorial Day, Rep. Underwood (D-IL-14) paid respect at a military cemetery

    Letter from the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Secretary urging VA to fully and fairly implement paid sick leave and telework policies and procedures after hearing that some VA employees had been unfairly denied these key benefits that keep them safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic

    Two weeks ago, the leaders of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees sent a joint letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the use and management of the emergency relief funds that were appropriated to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs following passage of the CARES Act.

    Statement from Sen. Tester (D-MT) on Memorial Day

    Statement from the Speaker on Memorial Day

    Sens. Tester (D-MT), Rounds (R-SD), Reed (D-RI), and Hoeven (R-ND) introduced S. 3788, the Veterans Cemetery Grants Improvement Act.  This bill would double the current $5 million limit on vet cemetery grants. The bills is currently pending in the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. The House version of this bill is H.R. 5487, introduced by Del. Sablan (D-NMI).

    House floor speech by Rep. Wilson (R-SC-2) on the National Guard

    ELSEWHERE IN GOVERNMENT

    Article: Latinos are fastest growing population in US military, but higher ranks remain out of reach

    • Artículo: Los militares de EEUU son más diversos que nunca pero los latinos no están siendo ascendidos a oficiales

    Article: VA says employees have masks and coronavirus tests, but Congress sees inconsistencies

    Article: Live nuclear testing could resume in ‘months’ if needed, official says

    DoD Article: Military Medical Experts Explore Psychological Impacts of COVID-19

    Article: Coronavirus delays new child care priority system, but good news for Coast Guard military families

    Article: VA-led research effort shows how medical devices can have well-known seal of approval

    Article: Amid criticism, Secretary Wilkie won’t commit to removing Nazi headstones from VA cemeteries

    Trump remarks: Rolling to Remember Ceremony: Honoring our Nation’s Veterans and POW/MIA

    Trump remarks: Memorial Day Ceremony in Baltimore

    Article: DoD launches financial site for Military spouses

    Article: Air Force fails to deal with racial disparities in military justice, report says

    Article: Telework capacity quadruples during pandemic, VA says

    Article: VA says onboarding changes made during the pandemic will ‘change the way we hire forever’

    Article: New changes to the VA Home Loan

    Article: How the Pandemic Is Helping The Military Prep For World War III

    VA press release: VA conducts deep-dive study into effects of COVID-19 on Veterans

    Article: VA Union Seeks Injunction Against Impasses Panel

    Article: Senate Confirms Braithwaite as Next SECNAV

    New CRS report: Full Practice Authority for VA Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    New CRS report: Delivery of VA Telehealth Services During COVID-19

    New GAO report: Defense Health Care: Additional Information and Monitoring Needed to Better Position DOD for Restructuring Medical Treatment Facilities

    Article: Social Security Honors Our Military Heroes

    Article: Trump’s Decision to Freeze WHO Funding Worries the US Military

    OTHER

    Op-ed: James Mattis: Let’s honor the fallen by protecting our fragile experiment in democracy

    Editorial: Why Does the U.S. Military Celebrate White Supremacy?

    Article: Military families need—and can’t get—mental health care

    Opinion piece: Supporting the mental health of military families

    Article: German auction house sells historic Medal of Honor despite US opposition

    Editorial: Never forget

    Editorial: Memorial Day is every day right now

    Editorial: Our national shame: COVID-19 in nursing homes

    Editorial: Returning favor for veterans

    Editorial: Remember the sacrifice of our fallen

    Editorial: Military base becomes a COVID-19 black hole

    American Legion press release: Illinois post makes smooth transition to virtual world

    Opinion piece: Advocate for military families' right to vote this Memorial Day

    Article: Military Families Have Been Pushed To The Brink By COVID-19

    Photos: Veterans who died of coronavirus honored in powerful photographs

    Article: COVID-19 delays Congressional Gold Medal for many Chinese-American WWII vets

    Article: Suicide risk for veterans could grow as coronavirus crisis winds down

    Op-edHonor those who serve our country at home and abroad

    Op-Ed: We’ve learned to thank those who serve, whether it’s in war or during a pandemic

    Op-ed: What happens to veterans’ healthcare post-COVID-19?

    Article: Tax incentives and reliefs for US military and veterans

    Article: For some vets who have died during pandemic, military honors must wait

    Article: Veterans disability exams to resume at some sites as backlog hits 114,000, nearly doubling in six months

    Opinion piece: Why War Powers Matter to Military Families | Opinion

    DA-V&MFC web site post: Remembering the Fallen on Memorial Day

    DA Global Chair web site post: Statement on Memorial Day

    DNC Chair web site post: Statement on Memorial Day

    Article: Military families share Memorial Day with nation mourning coronavirus losses

    Video: Recognizing the service of Native American veterans

    Article: This unique community is a haven for military families

    Article: The forgotten history of Memorial Day

     

    read more

    Remembering the Fallen on Memorial Day

    LEST WE EVER FORGET

     Memorial Day was indeed different this year. The staff at several US military cemeteries in France performed a small ceremony and afterwards laid the wreaths  of Democrats Abroad France on the graves of mostly Afro-American soldiers.  We were thus still able to honor the men and women who lost their lives defending our freedoms. Meredith Wheeler was able to be present to honor the two OSS Commandos downed in the Tarn. 60% of the WW1 soldiers buried in Suresnes had died in the Spanish Flu pandemic.

    Private Mitchell Davis, Suresnes Cemetery, a Howard University Law Graduate and an Afro-American soldier who died of the Spanish Flu pandemic in 2018, is one of the few highly educated African-Americans that are being cared for at the cemetery.  He even wrote a book entitled One Hundred Choice Quotations by Prominent Men and Women of the Negro Race.

    "Through avalanches of prejudices; industrial barriers; professional intrigues; legal technicalities; diplomatic effronteries, and political buffetings, the American Negro has, at last arrived before the public eye, as a factor not easily to be evaded" 
    ~Mitchell Davis, 
    One Hundred Choice Quotations by Prominent Men and Women of the Negro Race, 1917.

    read more
    See all posts

    Upcoming Events

    Thursday, July 02, 2020 at 07:00 PM · 12 rsvps
    Zoom in Zoom, Germany

    Meet & Greet for the Veterans and Military Families Caucus

    Are you a veteran or member of the military community and interested in helping to get out the vote in the November election? Then be sure to join us for an online Meet and Greet on Thursday, July 2 at 7:00pm!

    We'll talk about how you can get directly involved, and discuss your ideas for how Democrats Abroad can get even more members in the Armed Forces voting!

    RSVP here and we will send you the Zoom meeting information via email. 

    Unable to make it, but still interested in getting active? Message us at info-germany@democratsabroad.org, and we will get back to you!

vmf