Last week Senator Patty Murray’s office had to reschedule which was fine because I needed to reschedule too. Such is life, but today I make the trip to Spokane to meet with her Veterans issues staffer. I am a bit nervous about the meeting but I know I will do fine.
After my meeting there I am going to stop by the KREM news station and see if I can’t get some exposure to the cause. Wish me luck folks.
Just a few hours after the last report I got a call from Senator Patty Murray’s office. A meeting is scheduled for the 16th at 2 pm Pacific time. More to follow as it comes available.
Well Congressman Newhouse R, Washington State 4th Congressional District has finally contacted me. Well not him personally but his Veterans Issues staffer who is a veteran himself. I informed him of my intention to gather as many legislators as possible to get legislation to reform the VA.
I am hoping that my twitter bot that has been posting every 4 hours got their attention. While this doesn’t guarantee a face to face meeting it is a start. Persistence is the key to gaining progress in the effort to reform the VA.
Now more than ever we need to speak up. Share this with your veteran friends encourage them to take the survey. The more that take it the more meaningful it will be. It is time that our voices are heard.
Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia has introduced a new bill called S1024 (pdf warning), the bill ends the VA’s legal duty to assist veterans once the claim is denied and goes to appeal.
According to the Vietnam Veterans of America who are apposed to this bill in an official statement, this bill does the following:
- The bill fails to address the lack of precedent in the VA claims process and decreases decision finality at all levels of appeal.
- The bill fails to address VA’s inability to properly satisfy its duty to assist at the Agency of Original Jurisdiction-level.
- The bill attacks the uniquely pro-veteran system at the Board due to the limited applicability of the Secretary’s duty to assist.
- The bill encourages veterans to not exercise their right to a Board Hearing, not submit additional evidence, and not have their case reviewed by a Veterans Law Judge.
- The bill does not give adequate consideration to the legacy appeals that have already been pending for years.
- The bill should not include the Fully Developed Appeals Program due to problems with implementation with the other sections of the bill.
- The bill harms the veteran by permitting VA to prematurely “dismiss” appeals, even if the veteran intends to appeal an initial decision.
- . The bill harms veterans by creating a “new and relevant” evidence standard with a definition that is unclear.
- The bill fails to require reporting be made available to the public.
I urge you to contact your senator immediately and tell them to vote against this bill. This bill must die in the Senate and not go to the House. Action is needed now!