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Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Could Be Rounding a Corner in 2021

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Amie Muller was an Air Force tech deployed to Balad Air Base in Iraq twice during her time in service. The Balad Air Base burned 100 to 200 tons of waste per day and had burn pits that were more than 10 acres in size. Just 10 years after Muller’s last deployment, she passed away due to pancreatic cancer at age 36.  Muller is not alone when it comes to veterans who have served in the post-9/11 wars and were exposed to burn pits. These pits were used to burn garbage, plastic, jet fuel, vehicles, and human waste. They were […]

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New Coronavirus Relief Plan Has Billions Going Towards Veterans Programs

Friday, March 5, 2021

The nearly 2 trillion dollars in the coronavirus relief package contains billions in funds for veteran relief programs. $17 billion in extra funds for veterans programs was suggested to help mitigate the health and employment challenges related to the pandemic.  Republican lawmakers are hesitant to embrace the vast provisions of the new relief bill. They are concerned that the extra funds won’t have a direct impact on veterans and claim that the VA leaders have not given enough evidence to support this impact on veterans.  After these lawmakers were denied a push to delay the consideration of the package, the […]

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New Coronavirus Relief Package May Close 90-10 Loophole

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

As is the case with many packages debated and passed by Congress, the new Coronavirus Relief Package has provisions that extend beyond the scope of Coronavirus-related issues. House Democrats are fighting for a provision of the package that will eliminate a GI Bill loophole that has been exploited for years, at the cost of taxpayer dollars.  So what is the 90-10 loophole? The 90-10 rule was put in to effect in 1998 to prevent the waste and abuse of federal education dollars. It ensures that for-profit schools must collect at least 10 percent of their revenue from non-federal sources. The […]

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The Legacy of Toxic Wounds

Thursday, February 18, 2021

While the Gulf War of 1991 has faded from the memories of so many in the United States, thousands of its veterans are still affected by the impact that war had on their health. Almost 700,000 troops drove Iraqi forces from Kuwait in that conflict, one in four of them have subsequently lost their health due to toxic exposure during their campaigns.  Many of the veterans and families that have been impacted by toxic exposure are hoping that the inauguration of a president that understands the health implications of such exposure means that their country will finally start providing the […]

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Government Accountability Office New Findings Show that Hundreds of Fired VA Doctors May Still Be Treating Veterans

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Through the VA’s network of private physicians, up to 227 medical providers fired by the VA may still be treating veterans. The finding was uncovered by a Government Accountability Office Review.  The VA Mission Act has provisions outlining the tracking of providers as of May 2019. The tracking was implemented to ensure that all active providers were eligible to care for veterans. If standards were not met, providers could be dismissed for providing poor care or having previously lost their medical licenses.  The VA Mission Act’s tracking did not address providers that were removed from the VA before May 2019. […]

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Biden’s Pick for VA Secretary, Denis McDonough, Gets Support From Both Sides of the Aisle

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, leader of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, announced his support for Biden’s pick for VA secretary. Bolstered by further support from other republican representatives at last week’s hearing, Moran’s comments signaled an easy path to confirmation. The support from Moran for Denis McDonough came at the end of the confirmation hearing after McDonough answered an array of questions from committee members. Moran commented during the hearing, “I just wanted you to know – based upon what you have said – that I will vote for your confirmation, and I will ask my Republican colleagues […]

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New VA Program Investigates Outdoor Therapy for Veterans

Friday, January 29, 2021

The Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act was passed last month by former President Donald Trump. It was part of a legislative package called the Veterans COMPACT Act of 2020 that received bipartisan support. The bill’s focus is aimed at helping our veterans with both exercise and their mental health needs. Specifically, there will be a VA task force created to investigate the potential benefits of outdoor recreation, as a form of alternative therapy for veterans. Some advocates for such programs believe that, in the not-too-distant future, outdoor therapy could be prescribed as an alternative to the pharmaceuticals and traditional approaches […]

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More Troops in D.C. For Biden Inauguration Than In Iraq and Afghanistan

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Over the past few years, there has been a shift in the mindset of top-ranking domestic and foreign security officials – one that is perhaps most vividly represented by the stark contrast in the number of troops set to be stationed in Washington for Biden’s inauguration and those stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. On January 20th, for Joe Biden’s inauguration, there will be up to a staggering 25,000 National Guard troops in Washington. Currently, there are roughly 5,000 troops spread across Iraq and Afghanistan. The influx in troops in the capital in direct response to the events that took place […]

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Legislative Package Gets Unanimous Approval in the House, Signed by Trump, and Will Impact Thousands of Veterans

Thursday, January 14, 2021

President Trump signed sweeping legislation that aims to help veterans facing a myriad of challenges. Homelessness, access to care for female and Native American veterans, toxic exposure, and the coronavirus are all addressed in the legislation. Trump signed the bill on the 10th day following its passage in Congress, the final day for him to sign before the bill would have become law without his signature. Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas voiced his support for the bill that he describes as one that “provides support for every corner of our veteran community.” With over 340 pages and dozens of measures, […]

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Toxic Chemical Exposure May Impact Veterans’ Risk for COVID-19 Complications, Including Adverse Reactions to the Vaccines

Friday, January 8, 2021

According to evidence found by the Environmental Working Group, those who have experienced prolonged exposure to “forever chemicals” are at a higher risk when it comes to contracting COVID-19, as well as adverse reactions to vaccines for the virus. These toxic chemicals have been found in drinking water on many military bases but were most notably used as a key component of foam used to fight fire. For decades, this was the standard method for firefighting training. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are dubbed “forever chemicals” because they remain and build up in the body over time. Aside from toxic exposure […]

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