March 18, 2014
FRA National President (NP) Virgil Courneya testified before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees this week, asking Congress to work to reduce the large backlog of disability claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), expand presumption for Blue Water Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange herbicide while serving off the cost of Vietnam, and authorize two-year funding for the full VA budget to avoid the agency having to stop providing benefits and adjudicating disability claims during a government shutdown.
NP Courneya thanked Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Committee, and Rep. Jeff Miller (Fla.), Chairman of the House Committee, for their efforts to repeal the one-percent cost-of-living-adjustment for military retirees, including their sponsorship of legislation S. 1982 and H.R. 3789, respectively. Sen. Sanders’ legislation also contained numerous FRA-supported provisions improving veteran’s benefits. NP Courneya cited other issues addressed in the Association’s full statement, including full concurrent receipt for all disabled military retirees, expanded suicide prevention programs, veteran’s status for Reserve Component with 20 or more years of service, and reform of the Uniform Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA).
Members can read FRA’s written testimony at http://www.fra.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=2011_Legislative_Agenda&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=4988.
In addition members of the FRA Legislative Team meet with Personnel Subcommittee staff from the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, staff from the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and staff from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission over the past two weeks. These off-the-record meeting allow FRA staff to provide the Association’s legislative agenda to key staff members on Capitol Hill.
Original article can be found at: http://action.fra.org/latest-news/fra-national-president-testifies-on-capitol-hill/