Article: “Congresswoman, Navy vet calls for cheaper prescriptions for military families, retirees”
Article: “Senate Armed Services shelves 'paper hearing' plans”
Article: “House Democrats Call for Answers on VA’s Mask Supplies”
Op-ed from Rep. Barr (R-KY-6): “Congress taking action to help with COVID-19”
Rep. Barr (R-KY-6) introduced H.R. 6493, the Veterans Benefits Fairness and Transparency Act.
According to the congressman, “This legislation would protect veterans applying for VA disability benefits by requiring the VA to continue to make available on its website disability benefits questionnaires (DBQs) that medical providers and others assisting veterans use to submit evidence supporting disability claims. In addition, the bill cuts down on bureaucratic inefficiencies by requiring the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) to accept a veteran’s DBQ for one year after it is completed and filed with the VBA, regardless if the VBA updates or changes the form. Veterans in Kentucky have reported receiving denial of disability claims to which they are legally entitled solely because the VBA changed its forms without their knowledge.”
[bill text not yet publicly available]
Press release/podcast: “Rep. Gabbard Addresses Coronavirus Concerns From Military Families in Latest Tele-Town Hall”
House Ways & Means Committee Republican news bulletin: “No Extra Paperwork for Veterans, Beneficiaries to Get Relief Payments”
Article: “Gottheimer, Pascrell Praise Urgent Aid to Veterans Homes”
Article: “Thornberry wants $6 billion this year to launch counter-China fund”
House Armed Services Committee Chairman’s press release: “Statement on One-Year Anniversary of Trump’s Discriminatory Transgender Ban”
Recent letter from bipartisan group of senators to the Departments of Treasury and VA regarding veterans and the CARES Act
Recent letter from Rep. Axne seeking assistance, clarity for veterans during coronavirus outbreak
Earlier this week, H.R. 4771 (now P.L. 116-137), the VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act (introduced by Rep. Cunningham (D-SC-1), was signed into law. As a reminder, the new law requires the Board of Veterans’ Appeals to allow veterans with pending appeals to appear before the Board remotely from their personal computers.
House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman’s press release calling on Treasury and IRS to automatically distribute stimulus checks to the most vulnerable veterans
Sen. Gillibrand letter to Senate Majority and Minority leader calling for voting protections in the next round of coronavirus stimulus payments
Elsewhere in Gov’t
Article: “The Pentagon is quietly pushing to roll back recent anti-lobbying restrictions”
Article: “Retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins, Medal of Honor Recipient from Opelika, Dies after COVID-19 Illness”
Article: “VA, Treasury still working to get stimulus checks to potentially overlooked veterans”
Article: “Army Decides a Pandemic Is a Good Time to Give GOP Donors $569 Million to ‘Build the Wall’”
Article: “VA Instructs Coronavirus-Exposed Staff to Continue Working, Places Those Who Don’t in AWOL Status”
Article: “Trump’s War on Veterans”
Article: “Pentagon Worries Social Distancing Could Impede America’s Deterrent”
Article: “It's Official: Most Zoom Versions Now Off-Limits to the Military”
Article: “Veterans Affairs denies reports of face mask shortages at hospitals”
VA offering live virtual training to service women: learn to enroll, receive women-specific VA health care
Article: “Veterans’ remote mental health appointments skyrocket amid coronavirus outbreak”
DoD letter to service-members on wearing masks to protect against COVID-19
TV news clip: “Veterans outraged about new VA policy”
Article: “The Space Force is ready to launch”
Article: “Internal memos call into question VA’s still-rising coronavirus count”
TRICARE Pharmacy update: COVID-19 Myths vs. Facts
USAF press release: “Air Force Salutes campaign to honor those working front lines”
USN press release: “Navy Ups the Ante on Reenlistment Bonuses”
Results of Special and General Court-Martial Navy cases convened in February 2020
Results of Special and General Court-Martial Marine Corps cases convened in February 2020
Blog: “The Military’s Pandemic Response—Supporting Civil Authorities”
Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs press release: “VA, Facebook and American Red Cross provide Portal video calling devices to Veterans, caregivers and families”
New CRS report: “U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress”
New CRS report: “Infertility in the Military”
USPS press release: “U.S. Postal Service Tops List Again as Americans’ Favorite Government Agency”
Article: “For veterans who missed out on COVID stimulus cash payouts, VA and IRS have a quick fix”
Article: “No quick exit: US military plans for 'new normal' in COVID era”
Article: “Should GI Bill benefits be extended to civilian medical workers fighting coronavirus?”
Article: “VA secretary refuses to answer questions about COVID-19 supply shortages, lawmakers say”
USAF press release: “Air Force Academy prepares for historic graduation”
FYI: On Wednesday, April 22, at 1 p.m. EST, USMC’s "The President's Own" will release its 2020 Marine Big Band concert as an online streaming event. You can watch here.
Article: “For Young Military Families, The Financial Effects Of The Pandemic Can Be Severe”
Op-ed: “Trump needs to cover all veterans, their families and VA employees during COVID”
DNC comunicado de prensa: “Declaración del DNC sobre el presunto nominado demócrata”
Article: “Millions of veterans to get letters this week on potential reimbursements for medical costs”
Article: “Your 2020 Guide to Military Benefits”
Article: “A Complete Guide For Military Families Considering Adoption”
Article/video: “Hiring our Heroes president: Military spouse employment is ‘critical to national security’”
Article: “How millions of veterans could miss out on coronavirus stimulus checks”
Article: “Germany arrests IS suspects plotting attacks on US bases”
Article: “Tillis challenger Cunningham raises nearly $4.4M in first quarter”
^Related poll from earlier this week (Question #7):
If the candidates for US Senate this fall were Democrat Cal Cunningham and Republican Thom Tillis, who would you vote for?
Cal Cunningham 47%
Thom Tillis 40%
Not sure 13%
Article: “Fired as acting Navy secretary, Modly is now stuck in COVID-19 quarantine”
Article: “Glenna Goodacre, Renowned Sculptor Who Created Vietnam Women’s Memorial, Dead At 80”
Interview/podcast: “A new initiative to prevent veterans suicide during self-isolation”
FYI: to find military hospitals and clinics abroad, click here and then “More Search Options” to view
Recorded webinar: “The US military's role in response to COVID-19”
Article: “The Spanish 'Star-Spangled Banner' Is Being Used to Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19. Here’s the History Behind the Lyrics”
Article: “VFW Urges Congress to Pass the Major Richard Star Act to Ease the Financial Burden of Medically-Retired Veterans During COVID-19 Pandemic”
Op-ed: “Helping Student Veterans Amid the Coronavirus Crisis”
Article: “Veterans group continues legal battle over discharge records”
Friendly reminder: This is what happens to your letter when you contact a member of Congress who doesn’t represent you.
Letter to the editor: “Be sure to give thanks and support to our veterans”
Op-ed: “World War III isn't what the strategists thought it would be”
Op-ed: “Honoring ‘Military Brats,’ their sacrifices for family”
Letter from military families organizations to Congress urging for exclusion of the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) from being counted as income when calculating eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other federal nutrition assistance benefits
Article: “Veterans education program adapts to virtual world”
Dear Democrats in the Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus,
Hope you are all taking good care of yourselves in these strange times and keeping your spirits up. We have plenty of work to do in order to win in November, so if you have any extra time, please let us know!
Last call to send in your Candidacy form to run as a Delegate of Democrats Abroad for the DNC Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where the next President and Vice-President will be nominated. Also, last call to run as DNC member for Democrats Abroad.
This Delegate Candidate nomination form must be returned by Friday, April 17th. It is online. In this form you are required to write a 150-word candidacy statement. Our Chair, Julia Bryan will submit these candidacy forms to the campaigns who will vet our list. So you are encouraged to target your message to the campaigns in order for you to be included.
You may run as a Regional Delegate in all or any of the Regional Conventions May 16-17 and as a Global Delegate for the Convention June 6th-7th. These Conventions will be held on-line so no travel expenses required. At the Regional Conventions 4 Delegates will be elected for Biden and 9 for Sanders. At the Global Convention, 4 Delegates will be elected for Sanders.
Any DA member is eligible to run to be one of the Delegates and DNC members who will comprise the 21-person delegation that Democrats Abroad will send to the Democratic National Convention this August (13 Elected Delegates + 8 DNC members). In particular, those from historically marginalized groups are encouraged to run to Delegate: Women, African American, Hispanic American/Latinx, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander, LGBT, Persons with Disabilities, and Youth (Under 36). More information here from our Affirmative Action Team.
Again, the DEADLINES are:
Delegate Candidate nomination form must be returned by Friday, April 17.
DNC Member Candidate nomination form must be returned by Monday, April 20. Information about running to become a Democrats Abroad DNC member.
Questions? Please email [email protected]
More information can also be found here Briefing for Delegates
All the best, Keep healthy,
Anna Marie Mattson on behalf of the Steering Committee
Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus
* * * Letter from Democratic senators to the Veterans’ Affairs Secretary requesting that VA act swiftly to cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment under the VA’s Foreign Medical Program (FMP) for veterans living and traveling abroad
As a reminder, the VA web site currently states this:
“As a Veteran living or traveling abroad, you can receive medical care for VA service-connected disabilities through our VA Foreign Medical Program. Under this program, we assume payment responsibility for the necessary treatment of service-connected disabilities. You can visit our Foreign Medical Program page for more information. There are regional toll-free phone numbers on this page that you can call for additional assistance.”
Op-ed: “Sen. Martha McSally has quarantined herself in Trump's pocket”
Letter from Democratic senators to the Dept. of Treasury, Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs, and the Social Security Administration regarding CARES Act stimulus payments to veterans
Article: “Lamborn Urges DoD To Help Struggling Military Families”
Article: “House Armed Services chairman calls for removal of Navy chief”
Statement: “House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman & Subcommittee Chairwoman’s statement regarding VA’s delay of the Electronic Health Record Modernization project”
Press release: “Ohio’s Senators Applaud Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Approving Extension for Filing of Claims and Appeals for Veterans’ Benefits”
Statement by Rep. Thornberry, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, on the resignation of Acting Secretary of the Navy Modly
Elsewhere in Gov’t
Article: “Acting secretary of the Navy resigns after calling ousted aircraft carrier captain 'stupid'”
Article: “Trump Orders VA to Stop Withholding Money from Veterans”
Article: “Veterans Affairs Hospitals Facing ‘Serious’ Shortage of Protective Gear, Internal Memos Show”
Report: “OIG Inspection of Veterans Health Administration’s COVID-19 Screening Processes and Pandemic Readiness”
Artículo: “Los veteranos tienen acceso a pruebas de COVID-19 a través del VA o Tricare”
Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs press release: “CARES Act helping VA boost protections for Veterans”
Article: “With Camp Casey infection, coronavirus spreads to nearly every major U.S. base in South Korea”
News from MN: “Walz announces $6.2 million in coronavirus grants for Minnesota veterans”
Article: “Seven VA health care workers dead from coronavirus as cases mount”
Article: “4th US aircraft carrier hit with coronavirus”
News from WI: “Gov. Evers suspends many Assistance to Needy Veterans Grant program provisions”
Statement from the White House: “Proclamation on National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day, 2020”
Article: “VA Gets New Acting No. 2 Official After Predecessor's Firing”
Article: “Trump says voting by mail is bad. US troops do it all the time”
News from the Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs: “File a pre-discharge claim while overseas”
Article: “VA COVID-19 update: over 3,500 cases, 174 patient deaths as officials downplay equipment shortage concerns”
New CRS report: “Protecting Military Whistleblowers”
American Legion Auxiliary April Newsletter: The pandemic can exacerbate feelings of isolation, economic despair, and depression. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Veterans Crisis Line are experiencing an increase in calls.
Editorial from Virginia: “Deterring veteran suicide remains a Virginia priority”
Report: The U.S. Military’s Role In Response To COVID-19
Op-ed: “Treasury is needlessly requiring millions of veterans, seniors to file taxes to receive stimulus checks”
Editorial: “Veterans Affairs has the country’s largest health system. It might prove useful against COVID-19”
Editorial: “Failing to protect those who protected us”
Article: “What Americans Don’t Know About Military Families”
Article: “Veterans and Gold Star families mobilize to battle coronavirus isolation
Article: “”VFW Lobbied For ‘Star-Spangled Banner’”
VVA press release: “VVA Calls on President to Reverse the VA’s Removal of the ‘48-Hour Review Policy’”
IAVA press release: “As Veterans Seek Vital Information in Time of Crisis, VA’s Disjointed Communication is Reckless, Counterproductive, Says IAVA CEO”
Joint VSO Letter to Secretary Mnuchin and Secretary Wilkie on Recovery Rebates
Op-ed: “The U.S. Should Fight COVID, Not Venezuela”
Article: “Letter from President Maduro as U.S. threatens Venezuela with war”
Article: “'Trump,' 'chaos,' 'money:' What Mexico and Canada said when asked for one word to describe US”
Article: “Steve Carell to launch Netflix comedy Space Force in May
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”Read more
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.|
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 9-12, sweatpants (no string) for medical reasons
Light summer sweatpants (all sizes), run T-shirts
“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)
- Crocs, size 9-12 / Sneakers, 9-12
- Baseball caps
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
ATTN: Chaplains office
Kirchberg Geb. 3765
Landstuhl, 66849 Germany
Thanks for caring, We know how much they appreciate this,
Anna Marie Mattson and Jim Moss 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.
To all Veterans and Military Families,
We hope you and your families are all keeping safe and healthy. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the first responders and caregivers, doctors, nurses who are coping with this situation as best they can. Our first concern as a Caucus is also to reach out to our community in solidarity during these uncertain times so we are phonebanking all our members.Read more
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)
To download this summary, please click HERE.
- 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
- 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
Former U.S. Senator and Former Vice President of the United States
Announced: April 25, 2019
Home State: Delaware |
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.
- main-pillar-needs of service members, veterans, and families
- very strong support for veterans
- 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
- 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
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 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 .
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.”
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:
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)