DA Veterans and Military Families Caucus Leadership:
Upcoming Congressional Hearings:
House Armed Services Committee – none scheduled.
Senate Armed Services Committee – none scheduled.
House Veterans’ Affairs Committee – “Resilience and Coping: Mental Health of Women Veterans” – POSTPONED until further notice. Otherwise, none scheduled.
Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee – “Final Recommendations and Report of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service” – POSTPONED until further notice. Otherwise, none scheduled.
Last week, the U.S. Senate passed by voice vote H.R. 4771, the VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act, first introduced by Rep. Cunningham (D-SC-1). The bill would require the Board of Veterans’ Appeals to allow veterans with pending appeals to appear before the Board remotely from their personal computers. The bills is now pending on the president’s desk for signature into law.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6322, the Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act. The bill addresses issues like canceled classes, veterans who don’t have broadband Internet to attend online classes, and aims to bridge the gap to ensure those veterans also keep their full benefits through the current public health emergency - including work-study income for veterans who’ve lost their work-study jobs. This bill is now pending in the U.S. Senate. Chairman and Ranking Member’s joint press release here.
Last week, the U.S. Senate passed S. 3587, the Department of Veterans Affairs Website Accessibility Act, first introduced by Sen. Casey (D-PA). The bill would ensure that individuals with disabilities, including blindness, can access VA web pages in accordance with existing federal law. Background: Under current law, the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to individuals with disabilities. Unfortunately, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) has not made all of their websites accessible for individuals who are blind or have vision impairments. This creates an extra burden for blind veterans, as well as blind family members of veterans, who may wish to use online or electronic resources through the VA. This bill would address this issue by requiring the VA to examine all of their websites to determine if they are accessible to people with disabilities. It will also require the VA to submit a report Congress detailing which web sites are not accessible to people with disabilities, along with a plan to make them accessible and a description of existing barriers to doing so. The VA would also be required to review the accessibility of kiosks at VA medical facilities. Kiosk accessibility is critical, as many VA medical centers use them for patient check in and management. Unfortunately, many of these kiosks do not currently use technology that would make them accessible for blind veterans. The bill is now pending consideration in the House of Representatives.
Last week, Representatives Thornberry (R-TX-13) and Kelly (R-MS-1) released their proposal on the topic “of military families’ readiness” that they intend to call for a vote on in inclusion of the upcoming FY21 National Defense Authorization Act.
Joint letter from Democratic committee chairs: “Neal, Takano, Davis Urge Treasury and IRS to Automatically Issue Economic Impact Payments to Supplemental Security income and Veterans Affairs Recipients”
Joint letter from U.S. representatives to Navy officials to express concern for the health and safety of American sailors and Marines embarked on Navy vessels and facing the spread of COVID-19
Rep. Dean (D-PA-4) introduced H.Res. 912, a resolution expressing support for the designation of March 29, 2020, as “Vietnam Veterans Day.”
Rep. Panetta (D-CA-20) introduced H.R. 6280, the Reservist Pay Equity Act, to encourage more employers to pay the salary of employees that are members of the National Guard and Reserves when activated. Background: Employers who hire military reservists and National Guard members are not required to pay those service-members when they are deployed. However, employers may receive a tax credit for paying their employed military reservists and National Guard members differential wages, which directly help these service-members offset financial challenges while they are activated. This bill increases the tax credit employers receive from 20% to 50%.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA-17) introduced H.R. 6353, the Increasing Access for Veterans and Their Survivors Act. This bill directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide for the availability of prompts and services of certain Department of Veterans Affairs toll-free telephone numbers and business lines in Spanish. The bill would ensure that transitioning service-members, veterans, and their survivors have prompts and options in Spanish when calling the VA’s toll-free benefits number.
Op-ed: “Katherine Clark wants recreational pot shops open to serve veterans amid coronavirus outbreak”
Article: “Rose to VA: Open hospitals to civilian patients”
Dear Fellow Democrats,
A Chaplain has updated us on the situation at the US Military Hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. As many of you already know, Democrats Abroad has been actively supporting the wounded warriors program since 2006 https://www.democratsabroad.org/wounded_warriors.
|The hospital continues to operate and is under high protection security against the Coronavirus. It has been upgraded from C Charly to B Bravo level. So the ill, injured and PTS/TBI wounded warriors continue to be treated and the ambulance planes continue to fly in and out of Ramstein. The hospital is also serving the military community during the Coronavirus by testing patients with symptoms and hospitalizing them when necessary.|
No Chaplain or visitor is allowed to visit so the only “social” contact patients have is with the nurses, doctors and caregivers in the wards. The outpatients are left to their own in their barracks. The gym is closed. The USO is working with a very minimal staff and is “still serving the Medical Transient Detachment (MTD) patients by providing sodas, coffee and snacks (lots) in their lounge area. We go over there twice a day to ensure they have snacks for their rooms and hopefully putting a smile on their faces”.
Service members evacuated to the hospital come with very little, a small backpack at most and of course their uniform and boots, so they rely on the Chaplain’s Closet for clothes. Besides sending a card, letter or even chocolates to comfort and cheer up the caregivers and patients, here is the latest list of items needed:
High need items*:
Crocs & sneakers size 10 & 12, sweatpants (no string) for medical reasons
Light weight winter jackets , urgent: zipped hoodies with fleece XL , mouthwash
“Please do not sent 2 XL or 3 XL sizes”!!!
TOP REQUESTED ITEMS
- Military Duffle bags medium/large / Black Duffle bags ( no logos)
- Unisex sweatshirts/hoodies (medium/large, X-large), (no logos)
- Unisex sweatpants (small/medium/large)
- Polyester shorts/briefs (all sizes)
- Run T-shirts/ sportswear*,(all sizes)
- Comfortable light T-shirts (all sizes)
- T-Shirts color, (small/medium/large), (no logos, no white)
- Keurig coffee pods, DARK roast (K-cup)
- Crocs, size 9-12 / Sneakers, 9-12
- Baseball caps
- Light weight Winter Jackets, Beanies, Gloves
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
ATTN: Chaplains office
Kirchberg Geb. 3765
Landstuhl, 66849 Germany
Thanks for caring, We know how much they appreciate this,
Jim Moss and Anna Marie Mattson on behalf of
Democrats Abroad Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus
The Chaplain’s Clothes Closet (CCC) at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) started in October 2001 at the onset of Operation Enduring Freedom. The CCC provides a variety of new essential clothing and comfort items for our deployed U.S. Service Members, DOD employees, coalition partners, and US contractors as they are evacuated to LRMC for treatment. Since the Chaplain’s Closet is a non-funded humanitarian entity within the Department of Defense, we rely on the generous donations of fellow Americans and others. We truly appreciate the efforts of each and every person willing to share “hugs from home” and words of encouragement with those who have given so much.