AFSA Testifies to Special Joint Session of Senate & House VA Committees

Despite the message, “The Federal Government is closed”, your AFSA advocates braved the weather, trekked down to Capital Hill and testified to the special joint session of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees. I  presented the Association’s views on numerous Veterans-related issues during this special joint session. Our testimony covered a wide variety of issues including VA funding, the claims process (which badly needs attention), healthcare and education programs, efforts to curb suicide and homelessness among veterans, concurrent receipt, repeal of the SBP/DIC offset and extending Veterans status to certain members of the Guard and Reserve.

Our message was well received. A telling sign of the effectiveness of any testimony is the amount of questions Senators and Congressmen have as follow ups. Even though we were part of an nine person panel, nearly half of the follow up questions were directed towards our Association indicating Congress is listening to AFSA. Before, during and then after the session, your AFSA advocates had a chance to answer additional questions and thank a number of elected officials for their endless support of AFSA and many of our key objectives. These include: Rep Joe Wilson (R-SC) for H.R. 32 which would repeal the SBP/DIC offset; Rep. Tim Walz D-MN) for H.R. 679 which seeks to extend Veterans status to ALL members of the Guard and Reserve; Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) and Mike Michaud (D-ME) who are the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee for H.R. 813 which would fully fund VA’s discretionary budget one full year in advance); and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chair of the Senate Veterans Committee for his staunch opposition to a Chained CPI which would reduce annual COLAs.  Additionally, several emails have come to the AFSA headquarters with kudos for being the voice for specific issues such as concurrent receipt and the repeal of SBP-DIC Offset.

We are anticipating several other opportunities to present testimony to Congress in the future; the complete testimony from yesterday is now available HERE.

This bulletin was cross-posted from HQAFSA.org, the official website for the Air Force Sergeants Association Headquarters. It has been posted here for your convenience. Visit HQAFSA.org for more updates!

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