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 2 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 QRF Banner

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 2014 legislative priority goals. You can also access our Priority Goals brochure here. Click here for the Advocacy in Action booklet.

VA HEALTH CARE

  • Improve access to VA care and reduce wait times – especially for specialty care – by fully implementing an updated appointment-making policy.
  • Expand the use of connected health services like telehealth and MyHealtheVet, to provide rural veterans with well-coordinated care options.
  • Urge Congress to provide oversight of VA mental healthcare to determine whether more providers are needed, and that the care being provided is well-coordinated and effective.
  • Continue to improve gender-specific services for women veterans, to include appropriate counseling and care for those who were victims of military sexual trauma.
  • 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 and crisis awareness programs.
  • Strengthen mental health, employment counseling, substance abuse, and peer support programs to provide effective treatments for those at risk of suicide and homelessness among veterans. 

 

BUDGET

  • Provide sufficient, timely and predictable funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Pass full Advance Appropriations for VA to ensure future budget battles have no impact on the delivery of care and services to veterans.
  • Find a workable solution to budget sequestration to guarantee VA total exemption and to 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

  • Oversee the measures being implemented to reduce VBA’s total benefit claims backlog while improving the overall quality and timeliness of ratings decisions.
  • Enhance training to improve the skills and knowledge of VA employees.
  • Ensure claims processors meet and exceed accountability and accuracy standards.

TRANSITION ASSISTANCE

  • Demand the creation and implementation of one integrated electronic medical and service record that is easily accessible for veterans, the military and VA.
  • Ensure the military’s ongoing implementation of its newest Transition Assistance Program offers quality information for all transitioning service members, and that all relevant government agencies and veterans’ service organizations continue to serve as partners in the transition process.
  • Promote the use of secure and uniform online portals, like eBenefits, that veterans can apply for to access critical benefits and services, as well as pertinent military and VA records.
  • Require Congress to provide proper oversight of agencies that administer grant per diem funding and ensure permanent housing solutions are available for all homeless veterans – especially veterans with children.

MILITARY QUALITY OF LIFE

  • Oppose all proposals to change the current military retirement program or increase TRICARE enrollment fees and copayments on military retirees and military families.
  • 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.
  • Support efforts to lower the Reserve Component retirement pay age to 55, and to correct the FY 2008 NDAA retirement pay provision to retroactively grant early retirement credit to all Reserve Component members who were activated in support of contingency operations from 9/11 forward.
  • Provide the DD Form 214 to all Reserve Component members who separate or retire under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • 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.
  • Ensure veterans have access to a quality, cost-effective education and that veterans are well informed of all post-service educational options.
  • 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.
  • Urge the President and Congress to fully fund all organizations involved in the Full Accounting Mission, and to protect the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command budget from being redirected by U.S. Pacific Command or reduced by the Department of Defense, and fully support the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs.

 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

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

NLS Talking Points

Click here to learn about the problems and proposed VFW solutions to these current VA topics: 

 

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.