Today, dozens of Legion family members from all over the country will visit Capitol Hill to share the Legion’s legislative priorities with members of Congress and their staff. And they will be informed on the relevant issues.
On Feb. 25, in a packed ballroom at the Washington Hilton, the Legion’s Legislative Commission and Division conducted the annual Know Before You Go briefing.
“As in the past, our country depends on American Legion leadership and our strong voice for our servicemen and women, our veterans and their families,” Legislative Commission Chairman Ken Governor said. “The legislators expect to hear from us. They want to hear from us. Together, on Capitol Hill and in communities throughout this great land, it’s up to Legionnaires like us to make the difference. There is no other alternative. We are The American Legion, and if we don’t speak for them, who will?”
Legion family members were provided with the Legion’s Legislative Priorities for the 113th Congress booklet and then given presentations on all 11 priorities:
- Protecting veterans and the Department of Defense from the harmful cuts imposed through sequestration;
- Mental health care;
- Opposition to any further increases in TRICARE fees, including prescription drug fees;
- Stolen Valor Act;
- VA claims backlog;
- Disabled veterans tax/widows tax;
- DOL-VETS and TAP;
- Small business verification;
- Ending veteran homelessness;
- Quality education through Post-9/11 GI Bill;
- Military to civilian credentialing; and
- Protecting the American flag.
Governor also urged Legion family members to use the Legislative Point Papers, which provide more background information on each of the legislative priorities.
“The point papers are the ammunition you use to expand on the legislative priorities with your member of Congress and to use as a teaching tool within our departments to educate our members at the post, county, district and department levels,” Governor said, “so they, in turn, can amplify our positions to our legislators, the news media and the general public in our effort to garner support for the issues.”
Governor said that with sequestration looming, today’s efforts are critical.
“When you’re on the hill, remind them that military and veterans benefits were earned with the service, sacrifice and rigors of military service, and that national defense is the No. 1 priority of government,” he said. “We must implant that concept in the minds of those who would jeopardize our precious freedom and security by stripping away the resources and support to maintain our importance and prominence in the world.
“A lack of confidence by world nations in the strength of America’s economic and military power would invite catastrophe in the form of challenges to our resolve, and the faith and trust in our economic viability.”