VFW EXPRESSES DEEP CONCERN OVER THE IMPACT OF SEQUESTRATION ON VETERANS
VFW National Commander Testifies on Veterans’ Behalf to Cap the 2013 VFW Legislative Conference
March 05, 2013
Watch the full testimony here.
WASHINGTON – During
today’s testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans
Affairs Committees, the national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of
the U.S. (VFW) pledged the organization will not let America’s veterans be
forgotten by Congress or the Administration.
testimony comes just days after the announcement of mandatory Department of
Defense budget cuts brought on by sequestration.
VFW is deeply concerned about the impact sequestration will have on the
Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense budgets. Maybe not this year, but in
future budget submissions, and how that reduction in programs and services will
impact our troops returning from Afghanistan, our veterans, and their
families,” VFW National Commander John E. Hamilton, a Vietnam War Marine Corps
rifleman and triple Purple Heart recipient, told the committees.
September 11, 2001, more than 50,000 service members have been wounded in
action. Furthermore, data shows that more than half of all Iraq and Afghanistan
veterans treated by the VA have suffered some sort of mental trauma, a fourth
for PTSD. Other research suggests those numbers reach far higher.
numbers are staggering, and our efforts to provide the best possible mental
health care for our newest war veterans must also include those who faithfully
served in the past,” said Hamilton.
military suicide epidemic continues to be of great concern to the VFW. The most
recent VA report on the subject indicates veteran suicides occur at a rate of
22 per day.
“The VFW feels every loss and we grieve with every family. Suicide is a nationwide epidemic, but a
military or veteran’s suicide is especially painful because of the resources
and outreach VA and DOD have committed to awareness and prevention programs,”
also spoke of VFW’s concern for how sequestration will impact the progress of
VA facility improvements and research geared to address the specific needs of
VFW national commander expressed the need for the VA to ensure that women
veterans’ health programs are continually improved so that access and quality
of care, along with patient privacy and safety, are equal to their
extraordinary roles that expose them to the risk of combat, serious injury and
he urged Congress to pass S. 294, a recently proposed bill aimed to improve the
disability compensation evaluation procedure for veterans who have been victims
of military sexual misconduct.
follow up to VFW’s recent letter to Secretary Hagel on the subject, VFW took
the opportunity to impress upon the Committee its stance on the current
placement of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal and its support for H.R. 833.
“Medals earned in combat have to mean more than new medals awarded in the
rear,” stated Hamilton.
the entire testimony.
congressional testimony caps the annual VFW Legislative Conference during which
approximately 600 VFW leaders from around the country visit their elected
officials in Washington to discuss the issues important to veterans, service
members and their families.
noteworthy events which took place during the Conference include:
Patty Murray received the VFW Congressional Award in recognition of her
outstanding service to our nation and for her support and dedication to service
members, veterans and their families.
hosted dinner at the National Press Club for 60 Wounded Warriors and care
givers from Walter Reed Medical Center along with their families.
named Danielle Hayes from San Francisco, Calif., the first-place winner of the
annual Voice of Democracy scholarship competition and winner of a $30,000
scholarship. Danielle’s patriotic-themed
essay received the highest marks out of 40,000 participating high school
McKenna from Bowie, Md., was named the first-place winner of VFW’s Patriot’s
Pen competition winning her a $5,000 award.
Rick Perkins, Director, Affinity Management, and Chris Figueroa, Senior Account
Manager, presented VFW with a donation, reinforcing their commitment
to the VFW’s nationwide support programs for military and veterans.
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