Commander: Keep Senate bill focused on vets

Commander: Keep Senate bill focused on vets
(Photo by Lucas Carter/The American Legion)

American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger said Wednesday that sanctions against Iran have no place in a U.S. Senate debate over legislation that aims to expand health care, education opportunities, employment and other benefits for veterans.

"Iran is a serious issue that Congress needs to address, but it cannot be tied to S. 1982, which is extremely important as our nation prepares to welcome millions of U.S. military servicemen and women home from war. This comprehensive bill aims to help veterans find good jobs, get the health care they need and make in-state tuition rates applicable to all who are using their GI Bill benefits. This legislation is about supporting veterans, pure and simple. The Senate can debate various aspects of it, and that’s understandable, but it cannot lose focus on the matter at hand: helping military personnel make the transition to veteran life and ensuring that those who served their nation in uniform receive the benefits they earned and deserve. We can deal with Iran – or any other issue unrelated specifically to veterans – with separate legislation."

A 99-0 vote in the Senate Tuesday cleared the way for a full debate on S. 1982, introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The bill seeks to improve medical and dental care offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, open 27 new VA clinics where access to care is now difficult, renew the Vow to Hire Heroes Act that has helped some 70,000 veterans find jobs and receive employment training, improve care for those who experienced military sexual trauma and protect cost-of-living adjustments for future military retirees.

Read here how Sanders "welcomed" the statement from The American Legion.

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Larry Holman

March 2, 2014 - 1:06am

Any veteran that puts politics above the support of his fellow veterans is someone with whom I am glad never served and would never want to serve with such a person for fear of being abandoned by them on the battlefield. It is interesting how many politicians feel free to ignore the statements of leaders of many of the major veterans service organizations. Do they think that such organizations are so impotent that there will be no consequences?

Perry

March 1, 2014 - 3:07pm

I don't know what S-1082 legislation included, and I doubt most veterans know either. My point is simply that in all the pages of that legislation there are most likely "benefits" that are costly and unnecessary. So, separate those from the "real" benefits and then see what can be passed. The Charlotte (NC) Observer, 2/28/14, Page 2-A, (and they are not a conservative publication) reported this Bill included "everything from making more veterans eligible for in-state college tuition to providing fertility or adoption services for some wounded troops left unable to conceive". "In a two-year test program, some overweight veterans living more than 15 minutes from a VA gym would have been given memberships at private health clubs." I submit that a private health club membership is not necessary for an overweight veteran to exercise. I also submit that Republicans are as patriotic as the other party. Instead of a letter from National getting everyone riled up, how about a letter that actually explains what is needed in S-1082, and what isn't. Then we can contact our Senators to support the needed benefits.

Paul Butler

March 1, 2014 - 6:04am

As Commander of my Post, I have been asked by some of the members; "What specifically is the American Legion doing to get our benefits reinstated?" I explain that National is trying to work with Congress and has openly voiced opposition to these cuts. The response I often get is; "That's not enough." or "You see how well that's working.". Can we do more? Are there any plans to expose and oppose those Senators and Representatives who support these cuts? I realize that we are not supposed to endorse or oppose an individual candidate, but we MUST act to change the anti-veteran landscape of our legislature. When all the budget cuts are placed on the backs of the very ones that have fought to preserve their right to be stupid, we, as the largest veterans organization, must take some kind of serious action. This is an election year. The least National can do is post the names of these legislators.

James Clark

February 27, 2014 - 3:27pm

The dumba--republicans in the house voted the bill down. Why do so many legionnaires support and vote for those a--holes!! Vote them out of congress and vote someone in that supports our positions--whether they whom you vote in is republican or democrat. (though I prefer a democrat).

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