VMF Caucus News

Doug Jones - supporting Veterans issues AND Democrats Abroad

DougJones.jpgToday marks the two-year anniversary of the historic and important win in Alabama for Senator Doug Jones. 🙌

"Over the last two years, in the Senate and on the campaign trail, Doug has not forgotten his promise to work on behalf of everyone in Alabama. He’s stayed focused on the kitchen table issues like the economy, education, healthcare, veterans’ issues and support for the military. And recently Doug has secured some major victories for Alabama.

"Doug’s bipartisan bill to repeal the military widow’s tax was included in the National Defense Authorization Act and is expected to be signed into law. This is a huge victory for our military families, whose spouses earned their survivor benefits with their service and their lives." Doug Jones for Senate on Medium  Here are some of his remarks.

To celebrate, Senator Jones came to Paris to support Democrats Abroad! As he explained, the race to hold his seat is going to be tough. Every vote will count!

Senator Jones knows the importance of the overseas vote. In tight races, Democrats Abroad is the margin of victory!

The turnout was impressive for this fundraiser. We were joined by Democrats Abroad International Chair Julia Bryan, Democrats Abroad France Chair Ada Shen and DNC representative Constance Borde.


Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Positions on Issues of Interest to Veterans

Democratic Presidential Candidates’
Positions on Issues of Interest to Veterans

Click on the Candidate's Name to scroll down to their summary
If it doesn't work, please click on the Headline of this Article to open it.
(Suspended or Abandoned Candidacies at End of List)

Michael Bennet

Joe Biden Jr.

Michael Bloomberg

Cory Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Julian Castro

John Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

Amy Klobuchar

Bernie Sanders

Deval Patrick

Tom Steyer

Elizabeth Warren

Marianne Williamson

Andrew Yang

Democrat Presidential Candidates: Those who have ended their Campaigns

 

To download this summary, please click HERE.

 MICHAEL BENNET

U.S. Senator from Colorado since 2009
Announced:     May 2, 2019
Home State:     Colorado | Website
Latest Book:    The Land of Flickering Lights: Restoring America in an Age of Broken Politics

SUPPORTS
  • veteran employment
  • Veterans Entrepreneurship Act to waive Express loan program fees making Small Business Administration (SBA) loans less expensive
  • medical cannabis for veterans
  • exempting Veterans Affairs from federal hiring freeze
  • suspension of deportation of family of immigrant service members while serving overseas
ACTIONS
  • co-sponsor-Veterans Entrepreneurship Act
  • co-sponsor-DREAM Act calling for legal status for immigrant veterans
  • opposed military transgender ban
  • opposes banning homosexuals in the military

JOE BIDEN JR.

Former U.S. Senator and Former Vice President of the United States
Announced:     April 25, 2019
Home State:     Delaware | Website
Latest Book:    Promise Me, Dad:        A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose
WORTH NOTING:   While there is considerable - actually more than any other candidate - evidence of Biden’s commitment to veteran issues in the past, it is, surprisingly, very difficult to find anything at all on his stand on current veteran issues.

SUPPORTS
  • main-pillar-needs of service members, veterans, and families
  • very strong support for veterans
ACTIONS
  • numerous bills sponsored such as for spousal employment, children, health, and mental health
  • supported Walk of America ‒ Walking with the Wounded along with his Wife, a co-sponsor in 2018
  • supporting military families through the Biden Foundation

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG

Former New York Mayor from 2002-2013
Announced:     November 25, 2019
Home State:     New York | Website
https://www.mikebloomberg.com/getting-stuff-done#veterans

ACTIONS

  • created Workforce1, a service to connect job candidates to opportunities throughout New York City, and provided priority job placement and career assistance services to veterans and their spouses
  • partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to create Operation Home, a task force to combat veteran homelessness in New York City
  • created the first job center just for veterans, staffed by veterans, and an entrepreneurship program to help veterans start and grow businesses
  • launched Support Our Troops, a city-run service program to support veterans and troops actively serving our country
  • through Bloomberg LP, provided training programs that allow veterans to transition more easily from military careers to the private sector, and encouraged employees actively to recommend veterans for open positions in order to bring veterans into the company and put their leadership skills to work
Read more

News from DC, December 8, 2019

CONGRESS

This past Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4803, the Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act (sponsored by Rep. Nadler (D-NY)).

 This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to recognize as “residing in the United States,” children who are residing in the legal and physical custody of a U.S. citizen parent who is (1) stationed abroad as an employee of the federal government or as a member of the U.S. armed forces; or (2) residing in marital union with such an employee or member.  This will allow lawful permanent resident children born outside the United States who are unable to establish U.S. residency because of a parent’s overseas service commitment, to be automatically recognized as U.S. citizens.

PASSED THE HOUSE BY VOICE VOTE.

 (Related) Floor statement by Rep. Nadler  

_____________

Last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a subcommittee hearing on: “Servicemember, Family, and Veteran Suicides and Prevention Strategies.”  Video and witness testimonies can be viewed here.

This upcoming week, the House Armed Services Committee will hold a subcommittee hearing on: “Diversity in Recruiting and Retention: Increasing Diversity in the Military – What the Military Services are Doing.”

Witnesses:

 

Read more

Thanksgiving thoughts

Today as we celebrate Thanksgiving we would like to especially remember our Vets who have served in all our Armed Forces, the US Coast Guard and the National Guard.  You have put on the uniform and may have been in harm's way.  We think about you, we advocate for you and we care about you.  

As we follow the impeachment proceedings, we are particularly thankful for the courage of Lt. Col. Vindman, a veteran of the Iraq War who was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded by a roadside bomb.  He has no fear nor doubts when it comes to standing up and defending our American values and to reclaim justice. 

So we do hope you are able to enjoy your Thanksgiving wherever you are.  You are never alone and we will all keep on with the good fight! 

And I end with the Veteran's Prayer that you probably already know so well:

Veteran's Prayer


News from the House - November 16, 2019

The House was busy this week especially with bills pertaining to Veterans... Here are the bills that were passed. However the one about citizenship was taken off the floor and hopefully will be considered at a later date.

H.R. 4803 – Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act (THIS BILL WAS PULLED FROM THE FLOOR BY DEMOCRATICLEADERSHIP AND THEREFORE NOT CONSIDERED)

H.R. 3537 – Veteran Entrepreneur Training Act (PASSED THE HOUSE BY A VOTE OF 424 TO 1)

H.R. 499 – Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act (PASSED THE HOUSE BY A VOTE OF 423 TO 0)

H.R. 3734 – SERV Act (PASSED THE HOUSE BY A VOTE OF 421 TO 3)

H.R. 1615 – VA-SBA Act (PASSED THE HOUSE BY A SIMPLE VOICE VOTE)


Veterans Day 2019

Dear Dems in the DA Veterans and Military Families Caucus,

Today is Veteran’s Day and we salute and honor Veterans in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. 

When President Eisenhower issued his first Veterans Day proclamation, he asked all Americans to 

SOLEMNLY REMEMBER THE SACRIFICES OF ALL THOSE WHO FOUGHT SO VALIANTLY, ON THE SEAS,  IN THE AIR, AND ON FOREIGN SHORES, TO PRESERVE OUR HERITAGE OF FREEDOM.
Read more

Recent Items of Interest November 11th, 2019

CONGRESS 

*** Article: “Clock ticks down on defense policy bill” 

*** Article: “Construction, bonuses, and maintenance could be first cuts to military without NDAA funding”

Last week, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing on pending nominations for Judge Of The U.S. Court Of Appeals For Veterans Claims. Video of the hearing + witness testimonies can be viewed here.

Upcoming hearings in the Senate Committee on Armed Services:

  • Date: Tuesday, December 3, 2019. “GAO on Privatized Housing Findings to Include Responses from the Military Services on Ongoing Reports of Substandard Housing Conditions and Services.”
  • Date: Wednesday, December 4, 2019. “Servicemember, Family, and Veteran Suicides and Prevention Strategies.”

This week on Wednesday, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold a hearing on “Hijacking our Heroes: Exploiting Veterans through Disinformation on Social Media.”

Read more

Report on EMEA meeting in Athens, Greece


Athens—spiritual home of democracy—felt the perfect site for the EMEA meeting. Our backdrop was the Parthenon. On Friday, DA Greece member, Bradly Keisling, an archeologist, author and former diplomat, led a walking tour of the Parthenon. On Saturday, International Chair Julia Bryan gave a positive and hopeful summary of where DA is today and the tasks ahead.  The Mission (not impossible!): Flip the Senate to Democrats, Flip the White House and do not neglect the state and local races.

Key battleground states: Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.

Read more

News from DC - The Week of 2019-10-21

U.S. Senate


There is nothing on this week's Senate schedule as far as planned
votes or committee hearings related to veterans or military families.


U.S. House


***** At some point this week, the House of Representatives will vote
on S. 693, the National POW/MIA Flag Act, originally introduced by
Sen. Warren (D-MA). The legislation would require the POW/MIA Flag to
be displayed whenever the American flag is displayed on prominent
federal properties, including the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the
World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam
Veterans Memorial, every national cemetery, the buildings containing
the official offices of the Secretaries of State, Defense, and
Veterans Affairs, the office of the Director of the Selective Service
System, each major military installation (as designated by the
Secretary of Defense), each Department of Veterans Affairs medical
center, and each United States Postal Service post office. The Senate
unanimously passed S.693 on May 2, 2019.


Read more

Marking Hispanic Heritage Month: Honoring Medal of Honor Recipient Roy Benavides

The Democrats Abroad Veterans and Military Families Caucus along with the Hispanic Caucus proudly recognizes the unparalleled patriotism of Medal of Honor recipient Master Sergeant Raul “Roy” P. Benavidez.

 As one of the most courageous and honorable people in our nation’s history, we simply cannot talk about Hispanic Heritage Month without mentioning Benavidez. Born in Texas in 1935 to a Mexican-American father and Yaqui Native American mother, Benavidez’s childhood was rough with having to move in with his extended family after both of his parents had passed away when he was a boy. As a teenager, he stopped attending school to work blue-collar jobs to help the family pay bills and make ends meet.

During the middle of the Korean War, Benavidez decided to enlist in the U.S. Army. A few years later, Benavidez arrived in Vietnam and was critically-injured from stepping on a landmine. With severe bodily damage from shrapnel, medical professionals back in Texas concluded that he would never walk again. Determined to prove the doctors wrong, Benavidez struggled to get out of bed every night to exercise and flex his injured limbs. One year later, he shocked the medical staff by walking out of the hospital and then left to rejoin his fellow platoon members in Vietnam.

The Vietnam War tragically ended with roughly 60,000 deaths of U.S. troops and 1.3 million deaths of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians. Yet, it produced several examples of courage in the face of all obstacles.  Roy Benavidez was one of these examples... 

Known as the “six hours of hell” in South Vietnam in May 1968, then-SSgt. Benavidez, armed with only a knife, rode a helicopter straight into harm’s way to help surrounded American Special Forces who were radioing for help. With incredible bravery, Benavidez, who received multiple near-fatal injuries, still managed to successfully complete his mission of assisting his countrymen in need and recovering classified materials. During the battle, the heavily-wounded Benavidez miraculously carried both wounded and dead American and Vietnamese soldiers and loaded them on an extraction helicopter. Sure enough, Benavidez both secured the highly-classified documents and saved the lives of at least eight American troops in those six hours.

Years later, President Reagan awarded MSgt. Benavidez with the Congressional Medal of Honor after another former solider came forward with eyewitness testimony of Benavidez’s heroic acts during that day of combat in 1968. Sadly, in 1998 Benavidez passed away in Texas after battling health issues – yet, his legacy and American spirit live on.

Benavidez did not ever consider himself a hero. He once stated that he did those particular actions in war because he knew it was morally the right thing to do for his country and his countrymen.

Roy Benavidez was a historically-significant American patriot the Democrats Abroad Veterans and Military Families and Hispanic Caucus shall forever respect and admire. He showed us what it means to be brave in the face of extreme peril, what it is to fight for what you love, for what you believe, and for your values. May his heroism, his sacrifice, and his teachings never be forgotten. Let us all fight as Roy Benavidez did.