VFW.org

National Legislative Service

The location of our Washington, D.C. office allows us to monitor all legislation affecting veterans, alert VFW membership to key legislation under consideration and to actively lobby Congress and the administration on veterans' issues. 

Everything we do on Capitol Hill is with the VFW’s priority goals and veterans' well-being in mind. With the strength of the nearly 1.9 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliaries, our voice on “the Hill” cannot be ignored!

 

WHAT WE DO:

The VFW's National Legislative Service advocates on veterans' behalves. By testifying at congressional committee hearings and interacting with congressional members, the VFW has played an instrumental role in nearly every piece of veterans' legislation passed since the beginning of the 20th Century.

The VFW's most successful and important legislative push was to make college education affordable for military service members with the signing of the 1944 GI Bill of Rights, the Montgomery GI Bill in 1984, and the new Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008. 

Learn more about all of the VFW's major legislative victories by clicking here.

VFW's NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMS INCLUDE:

VFW Blog Form image

The VFW’s legislative initiatives center on quality of life and health initiatives for all the nation's veterans, past and present. The list below details the VFW’s 2015 legislative priority goals. You can also access our Priority Goals brochure here.

VA HEALTH CARE

  • Ensure that VA capacity meets the demand for care by properly funding infrastructure maintaining adequate staffing levels.
  • All non-VA care must be high quality, and delivered in a well-coordinated, timely manner.
  • Fully update antiquated VA scheduling software and fully implement an appointment making policy that focuses on veterans' needs and is not susceptible to data manipulation.
  • Provide sufficient funding for updates to VA's VistA health care treatment record system.
  • Continue to expand the use of telehealth services, especially in rural areas.
  • Authorize VA to receive reimbursement for care provided to Medicare eligible veterans.
  • Address the national crisis of suicide among service members and veterans by ensuring proper funding for DoD and VA suicide prevention programs and mental health treatment.
  • Extend VA caregiver benefits to those who care for severely injured veterans of all eras.
  • Increase research into women's health care needs and the diseases and treatments of toxic exposure.
  • Ensure VA has appropriate resources to adequately care for and reintegrate our homeless veterans' population.

 

BUDGET

  • Ensure proper funding so VA can provide timely health care and benefits delivery.
  • Pass full Advance Appropriations for all of VA to ensure future budget battles have no impact on the delivery of benefits to veterans.
  • End budget sequestration and ensure defense funding supports Quality of Life programs for service members and families, training and readiness, troop end strength and equipment needs.

VA COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

  • Provide oversight and the resources necessary to hire, train, and sustain a workforce and IT system sufficient to provide accurate and timely decision ratings to those claiming benefits or appealing decisions from VA.
  • Approve a presumption of service connection for the conditions associated with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
  • Ensure survivors of veterans who were in receipt of or entitled to receive VA compensation at the time of death for a service-connected disability rated totally disabling are eligible for Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC).
  • Appropriate the resources required to meet the burial needs of all veterans who have served their country so honorably and faithfully.
  • Pass a Fully Developed Appeals legislation that will allow veterans who wish to appeal but do not.
 

TRANSITION ASSISTANCE

  • Provide oversight for development and implementation of a comprehensive interoperable electronic medical and service record that is easily accessible for veterans, DoD and VA.
  • Ensure the Transition Assistance Program is relevant to meet the needs of service members and veterans at all phases of the transition process. 

MILITARY QUALITY OF LIFE

  • Ensure DoD maintains a quality and comprehensive benefits and retirement package, so the service branches can continue to recruit and retain the highest quality service members.
  • Protect Quality of Life programs for active duty and Reserve Component service members and their families.
  • Support full concurrent receipt of military retirement pay and VA disability compensation without offset, and regardless of the rating percentage.
  • Back efforts to lower the Reserve Component retirement pay age to 55.
  • Eliminate the SBP/DIC offset.

EDUCATION & EMPLOYMENT

  • Ensure that military-trained professionals receive the proper licenses, credentials or academic credit to allow them to transition into similar civilian careers after military service.
  • Protect the integrity of earned educational benefits like the Post-9/11 GI Bill and military tuition assistance.
  • Work to improve federal programs designed to help veterans find and retain quality post-military careers.
  • Hold the federal government accountable for its obligation to hire veterans and do business with veteran entrepreneurs. 

DEFENSE & HOMELAND SECURITY

  • Fully support U.S. troops and their mission to prosecute the war on terrorism, as well as to protect our nation’s citizens and interests around the world.
  • Halt the development and/or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, while continuing to develop and deploy a ballistic missile defense system to protect the U.S. and our allies.
  • Secure America’s borders from all threats, foreign and domestic, and identify and deport illegal aliens who commit crimes. 

POW/MIA

  • Achieve the fullest possible accounting of U.S. military personnel missing from all wars.
  • Ensure the U.S. government keeps the POW/MIA issue elevated as a national priority.
  • Monitor the reorganization of the POW/MIA accounting mission.

 The VFW has played an instrumental role in nearly every piece of veterans legislation dating back to 1900. Below are a few highlights.

  • 1980 — The VFW calls for an investigation into Agent Orange exposure with connection to Vietnam service, leading to the passage of the Agent Orange Act in 1991
  • 2007 — The VFW calls for VA/military health care system review after Walter Reed outpatient debacle
  • 2008 — Post 9/11 G.I. Bill for the 21st Century becomes law
  • 2011 — VOW to Hire Heroes Act signed which expanded education and training programs, improved transition assistance for service members, and encouraged employers to hire veterans through new tax credits 
  • 2013 — New Stolen Valor Act signed in to law 
  • 2014 — Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014

View a complete list of VFW’s legislative victories (pdf).

NLS Talking Points

To read about the current issues the VFW is advocating for and our recommendations to Congress, click below:

VFW's Action Corps Weekly

Want to know what’s happening with national security, veterans' issues and Capitol Hill? Sign up for the VFW's free Action Corps Weekly newsletter. Read the current issue.