Don’t Balance Budget on Backs of Disabled Veterans and Military
VFW national commander testifies on veterans' behalf at the Legislative Conference
March 07, 2012
WASHINGTON March 7, 2012 —
testimony today before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs
Committees, the national commander of America’s oldest and largest major combat
veterans’ organization urged Congress to not balance the budget on the backs of
disabled veterans or on the men and women who continue to serve in uniform.
two committees have a long history of taking care of veterans in a bipartisan
manner,” said Richard L. DeNoyer, a retired Marine and Vietnam combat veteran
from Middleton, Mass., who leads the 2 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars
of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.
understand that current budget realities are forcing very hard choices in
Congress and in agencies and departments across the executive branch. I urge
you all to remember in the coming days that Congress’ first mandate is the
protection of its citizens, which can only be accomplished if Congress first
protects those who volunteer to protect our nation in uniform.”
Today’s congressional testimony caps the VFW’s annual legislative
conference in which 300 VFW leaders from around the country visited their
elected officials to discuss issues important to veterans, service members and
their families. Atop
their legislative agenda this year was protecting the Department of Veterans
Affairs budget from mandatory cuts should sequestration occur, and stopping
Defense Department proposals that would reduce military pay, force military
dependents and retirees to pay exponentially more for their Tricare health
coverage, and to civilianize the current military retirement system.
Other high-interest topics range from military transition and
assistance programs to Post 9/11 GI Bill improvements, the proper care and
treatment of wounded warriors, women veterans, the 1.7 million VA claims
workload and adjudication error rate, the VA rating schedule change that could
have veterans with similar wounds compensated differently, and combating
veteran suicides and homelessness, among others.
Other events during the week-long legislative conference include:
Presenting the VFW Congressional Award to House Armed Services
Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) for fighting to strengthen
the military and to invest in a force that can meet and beat any threat.
He also led efforts to keep terrorist detainees off of U.S. soil, increased
missile defense funding, restored the tradition of keeping nondefense social
issues out of the defense bill, and is a leading voice to keep the military
intact in this budget-cutting era.
Presenting the VFW Gold Medal and Citation to the Marine Corps
Wounded Warrior Regiment, plus hosting more than 70 wounded warriors and their
families to dinner at the National Press Club.
Awarding a $30,000 scholarship Sunday evening to Elizabeth Scannell from Goose Creek, S.C., the
winner of the annual VFW Voice of Democracy program, a patriotic-themed contest
that this year judged 50,000 high school student entries. She was joined by Lydia
Macfarlan from Siloam Springs, Ark., who beat almost 125,000 other middle
school students to win a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond in the VFW’s annual
Patriot’s Pen contest.
receiving checks for $1 million from USAA
Executive Vice President and retired Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Speakes,
Burger King franchisee owner Mike DeRosa, and earlier, $450,000 from Sports
Clips founder and CEO Gordon Logan. All donations will help the VFW and the VFW
Foundation reinforce their nationwide support programs for military and
Watch Richard DeNoyer's testimony or click here to read his prepared testimony.
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