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In This Issue March 7, 2014

VVA Testifies Before House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee

$164 Billion VA Budget

March Is Women's History Month

Vietnam Vets with PTSD File Lawsuit To Gain Benefits

IG: Managers Let VA Employee Get Away With Cheating Agency

Nearby Blasts May Cause Lasting Damage Without Symptoms

What's Next for Vietnam Vet Dr. Craig Venter?

Senate Turns Its Back on Veterans

Vietnam Veteran Leaders Visit Anchorage

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John Rowan Presents VVA Legislative Agenda
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VVA Testifies Before House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on the Organization's 2014 Legislative Agenda and Policy Initiatives

Senate VA Committee Testimony

On March 6, 2014, VVA National President John Rowan presented the organization's 2014 Legislative Agenda and Policy Initiatives before the Joint House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs.

The hearing can be viewed at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/44583224  

To view Vietnam Veterans of America's Legislative Agenda and Policy Initiatives for the 113th Congress: http://www.vva.org/GovAffairs/VVALegAgenda.pdf

White House News Release

$164 Billion VA Budget

From a March 4 White House news release:  Continuing the transformation of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) into a 21st century organization, the President has proposed a $163.9 billion budget, a 6.5 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2014, that will support VA’s goals to expand access to health care and other benefits, eliminate the disability claims backlog, and end homelessness among veterans. The budget includes $68.4 billion in discretionary spending, largely for healthcare, and $95.6 billion for mandatory programs – mostly disability compensation and pensions for veterans. 

“This budget will allow us to continue the progress we have made in helping veterans secure their place in the middle class,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “It is a tangible demonstration of the President’s commitment to ensuring veterans and their families have the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.” The $68.4 billion total in discretionary spending includes approximately $3.1 billion in medical care collections from health insurers and veteran copayments. “We remain committed to providing veterans the opportunity to pursue their education, find meaningful employment, and access high-quality health care,” Shinseki added. “From the men and women of ‘the greatest generation’ to the veterans who have returned from our most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, no one deserves it more.”  

Read fact sheet here

Presidential Proclamation

March Is Women's History Month

Women's History Month

From the March 1 Presidential Proclamation:  “Throughout our Nation's history, American women have led movements for social and economic justice, made groundbreaking scientific discoveries, enriched our culture with stunning works of art and literature, and charted bold directions in our foreign policy. They have served our country with valor, from the battlefields of the Revolutionary War to the deserts of Iraq and mountains of Afghanistan. During Women's History Month, we recognize the victories, struggles, and stories of the women who have made our country what it is today. 

Read complete proclamation here

Posted by Connecticut Health 

Vietnam Vets with PTSD File Lawsuit To Gain Benefits

PTSD Lawsuit

In a Connecticut Health I-Team post by Peggy McCarthy on March 3, five Vietnam veterans, including a New Haven resident, filed a federal lawsuit Monday, claiming that they have been denied benefits and suffered stigma because they received “other than honorable” discharges due to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Read article here:  http://c-hit.org/2014/03/03/vietnam-vets-with-ptsd-file-lawsuit-to-gain-benefits/

As Reported by Military Times

IG: Managers Let VA Employee Get Away With Cheating Agency

According to a March 4 Military Times article by Leo Shane III, investigators found numerous fireable offenses by the unnamed employee, a claims rater out of the department’s Nashville office. But instead of getting rid of him, supervisors worked to accommodate and promote the man — at one point, creating a new, higher-paid job for him in Washington, D.C.

Read complete story here: 

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TBI Among U.S. Service Members

Nearby Blasts May Cause Lasting Damage Without Symptoms

Half of Nevada’s disability claims sent out of state

According to a March 3 article in USA Today by Greg Zoroya, a small scientific study of veterans exposed to bomb blasts while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan uncovered signs of lasting brain damage, even in cases where there were no outward symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, or confusion.

Read article here

As Reported by Reuters

What's Next for Vietnam Vet Dr. Craig Venter?

According to a March 5 Reuters article by Julie Steenhuysen, Synthetic Genomics CEO Dr. J. Craig Venter, in partnership with stem cell pioneer Dr. Robert Hariri and X Prize Foundation CEO Dr. Peter Diamandis, has launched a new company, named Human Longevity, to develop new genomics and stem cell-based treatments for cancer and age-related conditions. Venter said the firm would create the largest human genome sequencing center in the world, using $70 million in Series A financing. "Cancer will be a significant portion of what we do, but it will be a minority of all the sequencing that's done. We'll be dealing with individuals with dementia, with autism, and hopefully a huge cohort of people that have lived a long time without disease," Venter said.

Read complete article here

Craig Venter

Venter served in Vietnam as a Navy Corpsman and received VVA’s “Excellence in the Sciences Award” in Greenville, SC

As Reported on The Nation Website  

Senate Turns Its Back on Veterans

Senator Bernie SandersSenator Bernie Sanders

From an article by Zoe Carpenter on The Nation website published on February 27:  “Today, the Senate had a chance to put aside partisan politics and do what was right for the men and women who have sacrificed so much while wearing our nation’s uniform,” said Daniel Dellinger, commander of the American Legion, a prominent veterans organization with a conservative reputation. “I don’t know how anyone who voted ‘no’ today can look a veteran in the eye and justify that vote.”

To read more: http://www.thenation.com/blog/178574/senate-republicans-turn-their-backs-veterans

Alaska State Council Presidents Video 

Vietnam Veteran Leaders Visit Anchorage

Alaska State Council Presidents Video

Several dozen Vietnam veterans are in Alaska for the State Council Presidents of Vietnam Veterans of America's annual conference. Veterans from 28 states across the country are in the state to meet with other leaders in the veteran community.

This year they're focusing on health issues and making sure veterans understand he benefits they're entitled to. While their primary focus is to work through addressing issues, the group took time Thursday evening to visit the Veterans Memorial on Anchorage's Delaney Park Strip.

Watch the video here

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