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Legion backs push to pass VA funding law

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Legion backs push to pass VA funding law
Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada

The American Legion is lauding freshman Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada for his campaign to encourage colleagues to put aside their differences and quickly pass a bill that provides funding for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The Senate and House of Representatives passed separate versions of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2055) in mid-summer. However, minor differences remain that must be reconciled before the legislation can be combined and signed into law by President Obama.

On Sept. 15 Heller, a new Senator but a veteran Congressman, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, urging them to pass the legislation as soon as possible so as not to endanger, among other things, the timely payment of benefits to veterans.

"The benefits owed to the men and women who have served in the armed services should not be jeopardized because Congress has not had the self-discipline necessary to pass a responsible budget," Heller said. "Both parties from the House and Senate need to work out their differences and pass this legislation so our veterans can be certain they will receive every benefit promised to them. Moving this process forward is the least we can do for the men and women who have selflessly served our nation and risked their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today."

American Legion National Commander Fang A. Wong also added, "This is a point I'll be making on Sept. 21st in my testimony before the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committee. It would be easy for Congress to include VA funding in a continuing resolution, but that won't get the job done. They need to iron out a few minor differences in conference committee - this should be completed outside of a continuing resolution."

To date, a conference committee to settle the differences between the House and Senate versions of the Mil Con-VA Appropriations Act has not been formed.

"Our nation's veterans didn't take the easy way out while serving their nation," Wong said. "The best thing Congress can do is fund the VA for the entire fiscal year and stop playing political games with this issue."

 

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6301mh

September 22, 2011 - 2:51pm

Something else that Congress needs to think about is Handicapp Housing for the Disable Vet. When I got into my Wheel chair I Found out that there is no Housing available. How is a Vet suppose to cook or reach cabinets or do the simple daily tasks that normal people do when they have no one but themselves to do them for them. Apts are not equipped for the Handicap in a wheelchair. We need to change this. Disable Vets have rights and we need to be heard. Thank You for your time....

Bob95490

September 16, 2011 - 6:31pm

Thank you, National Commander Wong. If veterans didn't take the easy way out while being shot at and bombed there is really no reason for Congress not to fund the VA for the entire fiscal year except it is easier than talking to their political opponents. It is long past time Congress stopped playing political games with the nation's veterans, the nation's elderly and disabled as political poker chips and did what they were elected to do, talk to each other despite political affiliation and make decisions based upon national good and need rather than political philosophy or strategy. Perhaps your bringing this to their attention will help them grasp the need for them to act as courageously as those that defend them every night and day. Thank you, once again, National Commander Wong. Robert Ireland (PUFL) Post 174 Willits, CA

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