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VA Lawmakers Working on Deal to Pass Major Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Suicide prevention has been among the topics on the top of lawmaker’s minds when it comes to providing adequate care for veterans. It looks as though top Veterans Affairs lawmakers in Congress are now close to an agreement that would pave the way for major veteran’s suicide prevention legislation to pass this year.  According to Sen. Jerry Moran, negotiations with his House counterpart, Mark Takano have been ongoing regarding the deal. “We have reached an understanding that the House will take up (the bill) on Sept. 21st , or 22nd,” said Moran. He also added that no amendments would be […]

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House Poised to Vote on Removing Marijuana from Controlled Substances Act, Opening Up Possibilities for Alternative Treatment at the VA

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The Department of Veterans Affairs has long chosen not to incorporate the use of marijuana as a treatment option for veterans, listing the drug’s position on the federal controlled substances list as a primary reason. After nine months of silence, it appears the House of Representatives will be voting soon on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. However, a specific date for the vote has not been determined. The legislation would remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances on the Controlled Substances Act, but states would still decide on the legality of it themselves. The MORE act, […]

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VA Proposes New Rule to Expand Coverage for Veterans and Troops Injured During Service

Monday, August 31, 2020

Traumatic brain injuries, heatstroke, and cold-weather injuries are among the list of service-connected injuries proposed for coverage under a new rule from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The proposed rule would expand insurance benefits to veterans and troops suffering from an array of injuries. First proposed by the VA in 2018, the rule’s targeting expansion is directed at the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI). The rule would allow for those previously denied to request reviews of their cases, where “new and material evidence” is applicable. TSGLI is an insurance program that provides short-term financial support to severely […]

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How Veterans Are Fighting Back on Toxic Exposure

Monday, August 24, 2020

Almost a decade ago, Rosie Torres approached Congress for support, asking for help for her husband and other veterans affected by exposure to the burn pits. Unfortunately, she gained little traction. She was met with pushback from Congress who supported the notion that more research was needed to determine if the military should be held responsible. Though a burn pit registry was set up, which works to identify those exposed to the burn pits, government officials did not acknowledge that Torres’ husband was sick because of his service overseas.  Torres’ husband, retired Army Captain Le Roy Torres had inhaled toxic […]

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House Advances Bills Protecting VA Medical Malpractice Victims, Update to VA Motto

Monday, August 17, 2020

Twelve bills were introduced on Thursday, July 30th 2020 by lawmakers in the house of representatives, some included provisions offering protections for victims of VA medical malpractice, others had measures for an update to the official motto of the VA. The fight for inclusion in VA coverage for various groups has been a long and arduous battle for many. The fight has now been brought to the official motto of the VA which reads “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan,” taken from Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address in 1865. […]

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Protecting Injured New York Workers

Thursday, August 13, 2020

New York Workers’ Compensation Alliance is a statewide coalition of injured workers and stakeholders dedicated to protecting the rights of those injured under the New York State Workers’ Compensation laws. The group is now organizing an email campaign to spread awareness about the numerous problems with the workers’ compensation system. Participation is easy, and only requires following a few simple steps: (1)    Go to www.protectinjurednewyorkers.org. (2)    Click on the button which says “contact your legislators.” (3)    Enter your information; name, address, email, etc (4)    Click on the button which says “start writing.” You don’t have to compose the letter. It […]

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New Legislation on Benefits for Toxic Chemical Exposure Through Burn Pits Introduced in the Senate

Monday, August 10, 2020

Just days after the House voted to pass their draft of the annual defense authorization bill, new legislation was introduced in the Senate by Thom Tillis, a Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee member. Inspired in part by water contamination issues at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, which got thousands of veterans and their families sick, the legislation would serve to bolster the handling of cases of alleged toxic exposure. Historically, change in the manner in which toxic exposure is covered by the VA has been slow moving. Though there has been widespread knowledge of the problem at Camp […]

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Veterans Affairs Budget Bill Passes Advances in House But Faces Uncertainty in Senate and the White House

Monday, August 3, 2020

The largest budget spending package in history passed in the House of Representatives last Friday. The package’s success in the Senate faces an uncertain future and even worse odds if it comes across the desk of President Donald Trump. The pushback from the Senate and Trump will likely have to do with the language in the spending bill that directly blocks Trump from transferring funds to build a border wall. Additionally, certain provisions have been outlined for the renaming of military bases currently honoring confederate leaders. Both topics will likely be strongly opposed in the Senate in the coming weeks […]

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Amendment to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act Targets Forever Chemicals

Monday, July 27, 2020

Representative Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., heads a new amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that is designed to scale back the risks of exposure to toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS. PFAS have been linked to several types of cancer and have contaminated at least 328 U.S. military installations according to the Environmental Working Group. The amendment proposed by Dingell would require the Environmental Protection Agency to list PFAS chemicals, including those found in firefighting foam that military bases use, as hazardous to get grants for cleanup. The EPA would also have to set up enforceable federal drinking water standards. […]

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VA Advocates Plead for Congress to Address Bad-paper Discharges that Keep Veterans From Critical Benefits

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Last week, Army veteran and advocate Kris Goldsmith told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that that failure of the VA to help veterans with bad-paper discharges is “deadly serious.” Bad-paper discharges refers to veterans who received less-than-honorable discharges and have as a result been denied access to critical benefits. Currently, there are nearly 500,000 veterans with bad-paper discharges, 125,000 of which, from the post-9/11 era. Out of these veterans, only 35,000 have applied for the VA to review their discharge status. Only 3,500 of these veterans, 0.07 percent, have been deemed eligible. Kris Goldsmith is one of these post-9/11 veterans that […]

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