Magazine article VFW Magazine

Protecting Those Who Protect the Nation

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Protecting Those Who Protect the Nation

Article excerpt

Backed by VFW leaders from around the world, VFW's commander-in-chief appeared on Capitol Hill with a list of solutions for improving veterans lives.

VFW Commanderin-Chief Richard De Noyer gave lawmakers a lot to think about following his testimony before a joint gathering of the House and Senate VA committees March 7 in Washington, D. C.

"It is left to you, as members of these committees of Veterans Affairs, to ensure that others in the House and Senate do not seek to balance the budget on the backs of veterans," De Noyer said. "They have committed themselves to protecting us. We can do no less than commit ourselves to protecting them."

At the top of VFW's list is improving the transition to civilian life for young vets, specifically in the areas of education, employment, the military's Transition Assistance Program (TAP), VA's Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program and the Uniformed Service Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA).

De Noyer said VFW believes "the most pressing objective" to ensure a seamless transition is "commissioning an electronic joint health and service record for all military personnel."

He concluded by telling the lawmakers that "Congress must protect those who have volunteered to protect the nation."

Here are highlights of the rest of De Noyer's testimony.

Education: Tie Chapter 36 counseling to GI Bill eligibility. GI Bill-eligible schools should disclose to veterans their graduation, transfer, drop-out and job-placement rates.

Employment: Extend the VR&E program so that service-disabled vets can access it throughout their lives. And the military should provide National Guard and Reserve troops more information about their rights under USERRA.

VA Budget Concerns: VFW asks for quick passage of H.R. 3895 and S. 2 128, which would protect VA from across-the-board cuts mandated after the deficit reduction super committee failed to trim $1. …

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