A new wrinkle has been added to The American Legion’s annual Washington Conference. On Feb. 25 in the nation’s capital, The American Legion will host a Congressional Fireside Chat to discuss issues facing the Veterans’ Affairs Committees in the Senate and House.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs chairman; Sen. Jon Tester, Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs’ Ranking Member; Rep. Mark Takano, House Committee on Veterans Affairs’ chairman; and Rep. Dr. Phil Roe, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member, all will participate in the Fireside Chat.
“We are pleased to be able to host an event such as this,” American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad said. “It’s an opportunity for congressional leadership to share with not only our Washington Conference attendees, but with a national audience, their vision for veterans issues and legislation for the 116th Congress.
“That these four members of Congress would give their time to participate in this event also indicates how much they value our input and the opportunity to engage with our members.”
Isakson said the chat is a further example of how veterans service organizations and Congress work together for the betterment of veterans. “Veterans service organizations such as the American Legion are important partners for Congress as we aim to reform the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and ensure that our veterans receive the care and benefits they deserve,” he said. “I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this bipartisan discussion and look forward to continuing to find common ground on our priorities for veterans.”
Roe offered thanks to The American Legion for conducting the event. “I am grateful that The American Legion organized this Fireside Chat on veterans’ policy issues,” he said. “This is a unique opportunity for the leaders on vets’ issues on both sides of the aisle, and both chambers of Congress, to come together and discuss our priorities for veterans’ policies. I look forward to hearing the ideas and thoughts of my colleagues, as well as sharing my own. I think this is a great way to start out the 116th Congress: united and ready to work to ensure veterans receive the best services and support possible.”
Issues to be discussed will include the implementation of the VA Mission Act, the GI Bill and Appeals Modernization. The chat will include a Q&A session involving Legionnaires in attendance and will be moderated by Leo Shane, who covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. Shane has covered Washington, D.C., since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies.
“I look forward to joining my colleagues to reflect on our bipartisan successes and discuss our shared priorities for the coming year,” Tester said. “The rest of Congress could learn a thing or two from the communication, transparency and bipartisanship of our committees.”
The Fireside Chat will take place from 4-5 p.m. in the International Ballrooms East and Center on the Concourse Level of the Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. The public is invited.