VMF December 2022 Newsletter

Masthead

December 2022

Newsletter

VOL. 2, NO. 9

To view in PDF, click here

Official White House photo by Pete Souza

Official White House photo by Pete Souza

“The American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us. On ‘We the People’ who seek a more perfect Union.—President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Inaugural Address, January 20, 2021


Editor’s Message —

Greetings! Hope you encouraged all your Georgia acquaintances to get those ballots in for the run off election! EVERY VOTE DOES COUNT!

It is time to reflect on a tumultuous year and the possibilities that lie ahead for us to contribute to a More Perfect Union even in the face of adversity. What will we do to bring back civility and make sure that Veterans are not forgotten? There were quite a few impressive Veteran bills in the 117th Congress but most of them just seemed to sit in a committee waiting for Godot! Time to mobilize and frequently contact your Representatives and Senators whose main goal as U.S. government employees is supposed to be to serve the American people.

Since Democrats will soon not be in charge of the House, by only the slightest of margins, the iconic Nancy Pelosi decided to pass on the leadership torch, so that the Party can renew its efforts to serve the American people. Another huge change will be the departure of Dr. Fauci who will be stepping down from his government positions in December. 

Fauci gives final briefing after 50 years in government

We are inching along with climate change initiatives!

Did the world make progress on climate change? Here's what was decided at global talks

There are efforts everyone can make because each of us has something to contribute to our wonderful country. Why not start with the National Endowment for the Humanities Tapestry initiative and then A More Perfect Union? It is time to plan ahead to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the  Declaration of Independence in 2026!

Applications are open for Creative Forces Community Engagement Grants. Grants support community-based Arts Programming for Military-Connected Individuals Nationwide. Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network Applications are now open. The deadline to apply is Thursday, January 19, 2023. 

Check the American Tapestry initiative that contains newly launched National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant programs that explore the three themes of “Strengthening Our Democracy,” “Advancing Equity for All,” and “Addressing Our Changing Climate”:

*Dangers & Opportunities of Technology: Perspectives from the Humanities (Application deadline: February 2, 2023.)

*Cultural and Community Resilience Program A new NEH grant program that supports efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change and health crises on communities while safeguarding their cultural resources, as outlined in the Biden-Harris administration’s Justice40 initiative. (Application deadline: January 12, 2023)   

*Climate Smart: Humanities Organizations  (Application deadline: January 17, 2023)   

*Public Impact Projects at Smaller Organizations  (Funding opportunity to launch in 2023.)

American Tapestry also incorporates NEH’s A More Perfect Union initiative which supports the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 2026 by funding projects to help everyone understand the beginnings of our country. 

A More Perfect Union builds on NEH’s efforts over the past six decades to promote American history and will emphasize the critical role the humanities play in our nation. 

Organize your groups and decide on Veteran related themes, so all those who have served and continue to serve are represented! Application deadlines are approaching quickly!

In the spirit of the season, a reminder that members of the Military, Veterans, and Gold-Star families and senior citizens are eligible for FREE park passes that provide access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas including the national parks. Take advantage of these programs. Free Lifetime Passes to U.S. National Parks for Veterans and Gold Star Families.

Give yourself a holiday gift at the behest of Dr. Fauci!

"My message -- and my final message, maybe the final message I give you from this podium -- is that please for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated COVID-19 shot as soon as you're eligible to protect yourself, your family and your community"                                              –Dr. Anthony Fauci

We thank everyone who has supported the mission of the VMF Caucus and those that have collaborated with us to spread the word. We look forward to continued collaboration since the DNC believes in a strong military!

Have a healthy, happy, Democratic New Year. Keep hope alive!

Terese Sarno

Editor

Please join our caucus to show your support for the U.S. military!  

 


 

Speaker Pelosi Announces Her Future Plans

Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House
Pelosi Statement on the 2022 Election
Nov 16, 2022 

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement after the House was called for Republicans in the 2022 election:

“This year, House Democrats defied expectations with an excellent performance: running their races with courage, optimism and determination.  In the next Congress, House Democrats will continue to play a leading role in supporting President Biden’s agenda — with strong leverage over a scant Republican majority.

“House Democrats are thrilled to have so many terrific new and returning Members to the House, who will reinvigorate our Caucus with their energy, diversity and patriotism.  We salute our departing Members for their magnificent leadership, achieving landmark progress on health care, climate action, infrastructure, gun violence, veterans and more that can never be diminished.

“At least three critical states are still counting ballots.  We are endlessly grateful to those who continue their patriotic work to ensure each vote is counted as cast.”


ADVOCACY

The Health of U.S. Military Veterans

November 29 - Register: The Health of U.S. Military Veterans 3:00 p.m. ET

Watch Live: wapo.st/veteranshealthnov2022

Veterans often face new battles at home from physical and mental injuries to feelings of displacement and isolation. On Tuesday, November 29 at 3:00 p.m. ET, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks and Burn Pits 360 co-founder Rosie Torres join Washington Post Live to discuss new investments the government is making to support the approximately 18 million women and men who have worn their country’s uniform in combat.

 

Post-9/11 Veterans can find a new team with Southeast Conservation Veteran Fire Corps

The Stars and Stripes Transition Guide

VA supports easing transition from active duty

Veterans Affairs

Helpful VA Phone Numbers

Informational Resources   

Your VA claim exam questions answered

Claim Exam Information

Free Help Filing VA Claims

VA Claim Exam (C&P Exam)

YOUR VA CLAIM EXAM: KNOW WHAT’S NEXT

Veterans sue VA - demand land be used for homes, not rented to a college and private school

 


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DECEMBER is
UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS MONTH

December 1 - IRS Webinar–Thursday, 7:00pm to 9:00pm CET (1:00pm to 3:00pm EST)

Are you an American citizen with questions about your U.S. taxes?  

The DA Veterans and Military Families Caucus invites you to attend a free webinar, organized by the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, in which Internal Revenue Service (IRS) representatives will share tax information relevant to Americans living overseas and answer your questions.  Register

Tax Information Webinar

December 1 - VA Secretary press conference, 2000 to 2200 CET (1400 to 1500 EST)

December 6 - Careers in Cybersecurity USO MVP Zoom 1700 CET (1100 EST)

December 7  National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

December 8 - FBI Jobs USO MVP Zoom 1900 CET 

December 10 - VMF Caucus Meeting  1600 EST  WebEx link 

December 10 - Human Rights Day

December 15 - Bill of Rights Day

December 15 - Wright Brothers Day

December 17 – National Wreaths Across America Day                                  

December 31Universal Hour of Peace

Upcoming DA Activities

Wreaths Across AmericaWreaths Across America

Election Wrap Up

Although there are still some ballots to be counted as well as the Georgia Senate run off election, the final election results are almost in. It is useful to know that a Wisconsin lawmaker tried to sequester military absentee ballots. Fortunately this did not become a reality but it shows this is an area that needs our constant attention.  Read this! Wisconsin judge won’t order sequestering of absentee military ballots (updated November 7th).

This item in Ted Kennedy’s diary is worth reading: Ted Kennedy's Diary Shows Alito Lied About Maintaining Precedent in "Roe"

Overwhelming support for Pro-Choice ballot initiatives confirms that voters want to protect the rights that we have gained over the years. So while the Democrats still control both houses of Congress, there is a huge effort to get as many bills passed as possible.  On November 16th, the Respect for Marriage Act that provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages advanced in the Senate with bipartisan support.


WHAT’S CONGRESS UP TO?

Year End Wrap-Up

Federal Government:

*President Biden signed the PACT Act, the largest expansion of health benefits in VA history.

*President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act.

*The House of Representatives - with VMF's strong support- passed H.R. 7375, a bill to correct the electronic payment processing system for GI Bill users residing overseas. Last Action: Senate - 05/18/2022 Received in the Senate, read twice, referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs.  Contact your Senators to encourage passage of HR 7375.

President Biden’s Student Loan Relief for Borrowers Who Need It Most 

Accomplishments of the Biden Administration

DA VMF Caucus:

*DA VMF's resolution urging for Veterans and military family members to be part of DA's 2024 Delegate Diversity Selection Plan was resubmitted to the DA Resolutions Committee.

*DA VMF participated in many events including speaking to the Chair of the DNC's VMF Council, posted a podcast with an overseas veteran whose education has been negatively affected by the current GI Bill program, shared reflections in a safe space about 9/11, participated in candidate forums - Maryland, Katie Porter, Elizabeth Slotkin, NC, collaborated with the U.S. Consulate General Frankfurt on programs beneficial to Veterans, and participated in the Doughboy Foundation’s  National Veterans Day  Bells of Peace World War I Remembrance, extending the reach of  #bellsofpeace around the world.

Veteran related bills – 117th Congress 2021-2022

H.R. 6411 - STRONG Veterans Act of 2022
Most recent action: 06/23/2022 Passed/agreed to in House
Your help is needed: Contact your U.S. Senators to encourage passage of H.R. 6411.


VETERANS’ ISSUES

Health

Women Veterans and chronic pain

Veterans Benefits Administration Home

Benefits Intro: Burn Pits

Agent Orange Newsletter - 2022

Military Exposures and Your Health - 2022 - Issue 7

VA received nearly 113,000 claims under PACT Act, urges veterans to submit claims quickly 

VA to prioritize claims under PACT Act for veterans suffering from cancer

Closing the gap: Resource hubs approach to rural Veteran care

How to apply for VA health care benefits as a Veteran or service member

Add these virtual tools to your emergency plan 

The PACT Act And Your VA Benefits

Hearing on the VA implementation of the PACT Act

The Veterans Crisis Line provides 24/7, confidential mental health support for Veterans and their family members. Dial 988 and press 1, chat online, or text 838255 for support.


Education

Ramstein Air Base program first overseas to offer commercial aviation mechanics’ certification

Federal Student Loan Relief Application Form Now Accessible for Americans Abroad!

How to Create a VA.gov Account Using ID.me

Looking to start your education benefits application? Sign into VA.gov with your ID.me account here: https://www.va.gov/education/how-to-apply/.

Have a question for VA? Sign into VA.gov and submit your questions with Ask VA (AVA): https://ask.va.gov/.

Follow VA on social media:

Develop Career Skills with the VET TEC Program


Veteran Recognition

Secretary Denis McDonough's remarks at National Press Club Nov. 7, 2022

There Is Now a Face for Every Name on the Vietnam War Memorial Wall

Meet five inspiring women Veterans

 

 


Click here for our Spotlight Congress and The Capitol

Click here for our Podcast & Social Media Recommendations

Click here for our Poetry Corner

Click here for our Film and Book Recommendations

Click here for our Brain-Zone Quiz

Click here for our Educational Resources

Click here for our Virtual Museum


GLOBAL VMF CAUCUS MEETINGS

The Global VMF Caucus Steering Committee meets once a month. 

All Democrats Abroad members are welcome to attend. 

WebEx link for December 10 at 16:00 EST (Rotation 2). 


SUGGESTION BOX

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Do you have a suggestion, comment, webinar

Let us know: [email protected]

 

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Please join our caucus to show your support for the U.S. military!


Editor:

Terese Sarno (Germany)

Veterans and Military Families Caucus Chair:

Kee Adams Evans (Guatemala)

 

We have to help decision makers realize that women's reproductive health rights are civil rights and that women need to be free to make the same decisions that men are free to make with regard to health care and whether and when to have a family. It's going to be increasingly important for women to speak up not only about being able to make our own decisions, but also about the importance of being trusted to make our own decisions.                         — Maggie Hassan, U.S. Senator New Hampshire