Montana Veterans Monument
Several years in the making, the Veterans Monument located at 101 Hieronymus Park Drive is under construction. Vietnam Veterans of America Bitterroot Chapter 938 has been hard at work collecting names and donations. Construction started 14 October 2010 and continues. Fund raising continues to complete the Monument.
The Veterans Monument, to honor all honorable discharged veterans’s service to our country, engraved are their names along with service, dates, rate and statement.
VA Secretary Town Hall
Watch Live-January 17th at 1 p.m. ET
Secretary Wilkie and VA leaders will discuss the state of VA, community resources, department priorities, and answer questions.
Click here to register.
Rep. Phil Roe Introduces the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs introduced the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.
“The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 would ensure that our Vietnam Veterans receive the benefits they deserve. This bill mirrors the language of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018, which passed the House 382 – 0 during the 115th Congress. One of my final acts as Chairman in 2018 was holding a bipartisan press conference to urge the Senate to pass H.R 299. Needless to say, despite the endless efforts of Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committee Chairman Isakson and Ranking Member Tester, the Senate never passed the legislation. This is why I have introduced this bill that mirrors the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018 and I encourage my colleagues in the House to once again swiftly pass this bipartisan piece of legislation.
“Currently, Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans are unable to receive the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange because VA’s presumption policy extends only to those who served on land in Vietnam or in Vietnam’s inland waterways. This legislation would extend the presumption of exposure of Agent Orange to our Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans. I hope that my colleagues in the House and Senate waste no time in passing this bill and sending it to President Trump so we can ensure that Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans receive the benefits they deserve.”
Vet Center Survey Request
VVA has comprised a Vet Center Survey to help support Vet Centers. This survey is being asked to be completed by VVA members and other veterans who use the Vet Centers across the country.
It can be filled out by requesting a paper form from any VVA chapter or can be accessed and submitted electronically. It is not necessary to put any personal identification on the form.
The website is https://goo.gl/forms/VDsSxIAG7cwaSbHF2 and can be accessed by clicking on the website.
Senate Passes Veterans Benefits and Transition Act
The United States Senate passed Ranking Member Jon Tester’s 21st bipartisan bill, capping off a landmark Congress with numerous victories for America’s veterans.
Tester’s Veterans Benefits and Transition Act contains 18 bipartisan bills, including the following six bipartisan Tester-authored bills to honor Native American veterans, better protect student veterans, and increase the transparency and accountability of the VA’s historic electronic health records transition.
The Servicemembers Improved Transition through Reforms for Ensuring Progress “SIT-REP” Act:Forces schools that receive G.I. Bill benefits to adopt a policy that it will not impose a late fee, restrict a student veterans’ access to campus facilities, or otherwise punish a student veteran due to a late payment of tuition or fees from the VA.
Tribal Veteran Burial Benefits Act:Authored by Tester and Senator Dean Heller (R-Nev.), the VA can now provide headstones or burial markers to a Native American veteran’s spouse and dependents who wish to be buried alongside their loved one in a tribal veterans’ cemetery.
Veteran Debt Fairness Act:Following reports that the VA had been forcing veterans to repay benefits to the VA, Tester authored legislation with Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to require the VA to update its information technology systems so that affected veterans are able to review and revise information about their dependents electronically.
Veterans Fair Debt Notice Act:Tester authored this legislation with Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) to require the VA to notify veterans with a straightforward, easy-to-understand electronic or standard mail notification of any debt that veteran owes to the VA and the steps they can take to dispute that debt.
Veterans’ Electronic Health Record Modernization Oversight Act:As the VA undertakes the largest electronic health records change in history, Tester and Blumenthal authored legislation to make the modernization program’s key planning and implementation efforts more transparent and hold the VA accountable by requiring the VA to notify Congress in the event of any significant cost increase, schedule delay, loss of veteran health data or breach of privacy.
Veterans’ Dental Care Eligibility Expansion and Enhancement Act:The VA is required to report on the possibility of expanding veterans’ access to dental care. By analyzing access and affordability through VA dental care, oral health needs of eligible veterans, and the number of providers needed to provide such care.
“This legislation is the product of hard work, compromise and bipartisanship,” said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Sending another VA reform bill to the President’s desk sends a clear message to our nation’s veterans: Serving our men and women in uniform is a responsibility that we should all take very seriously. I have been honored to work with Chairman Isakson this Congress to accomplish so much for our nation’s veterans.”
VVA Demands Hearing for VA Abandonment of Suicide-prevention Outreach
(Washington, D.C.)–“Veterans and Congress have spent the last decade making sure that suicide prevention is the VA’s top clinical priority, and in the last two years, it appears the VA has nearly completely abandoned that mission,” said John Rowan, VVA National President. “Studies have shown that veterans who receive VA healthcare are far less likely to die by suicide than their peers, which makes outreach the most important part of the VA’s suicide-prevention program. For the VA to abandon suicide-prevention outreach is essentially akin to malpractice on a massive scale.”
The Government Accountability Office report released yesterday, “Improvements Needed in Suicide Prevention Media Outreach Campaign Oversight and Evaluation,” revealed a disturbing reversal in VA’s trend in suicide-prevention outreach — and a drop in outreach spending that indicates suicide prevention has been all but forgotten.
Out of the $6.2 million budget that the VA is required to spend on suicide prevention, in fiscal year 2018, they had been on track to spend less than one percent on ensuring that veterans gained access to services.
“A significant portion of the veterans whom our country loses to suicide each day are Vietnam veterans,” noted Rowan. “Congress must find out what happened to the millions of dollars that were supposed to be spent on suicide prevention outreach, and then Congress must hold accountable those who failed to take seriously one of the greatest risks faced by veterans.”