Advocacy Update: #CannabisForVets, #SheWhoBorneTheBattle, & More!

It was another busy week in DC coming off of one of another strong Storm the Hill. We testified in front of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC), attended a roundtable for the VA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), and we added 6 new cosponsors on IAVA backed legislation!

Capitol Hill Storm
Storm clouds move over the Capitol as the IAVA team leaves following Travis’ testimony

First up this week, IAVA Board Member Kristen Rouse attended an OIG roundtable on healthcare accessibility at VA for women veterans. Kristen was able to advocate IAVA’s concerns with women’s healthcare at VA and ensure that female veterans are receiving equal care to their male peers. Our #SheWhoBorneTheBattle campaign remains one of our #Big6 issues, so please stay tuned as we continue to fight for improved care for all veterans.

On Thursday, the IAVA team attended a HVAC Disability & Memorial Affairs Subcommittee hearing on disability access to survivors of military sexual trauma (MST). This comes off the news from the OIG that VA wrongly denied 1,300 claims over a 5 month period concerning MST. This is an important hearing and IAVA thanks the Committee for continuing to discuss this critically important issue.

Also on Thursday, Travis Horr joined our VSO colleagues to testify before the full HVAC on some of IAVA’s #Big6 issues. The top priority for IAVA during the hearing was the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act (S. 179/H.R. 712) which is the centerpiece of our #CannabisForVets campaign. We also testified on other important issues, including VA Reform and #SheWhoBorneTheBattle. Be sure to watch the full testimony here, and read my full statement here.

TH Testimony
Travis testifying Thursday before the House Veterans Affairs Committee

New Cosponsors of IAVA-Backed Legislation:

Following our hard work during Storm the Hill last week, our IAVA backed legislation received many new cosponsors. The Burn Pits Accountability Act (S. 191/H.R. 663) picked up an additional 4 cosponsors! Thanks to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Reps. Lori Trahan (D-MA), Greg Stanton (D-AZ), and Kathleen Rice (D-NY) for their support as we try to push this vital piece of legislation across the finish line.

The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act (S. 179/H.R. 712) also added a new cosponsor in Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA). Markey adds his name to a list of growing senators as this bill starts to gain traction in both the House and Senate.

Finally, the Deborah Sampson Act (S. 514) gained one new cosponsor. A warm thank you to Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) for his support of this bill which remains a crucial part of IAVA’s #SheWhoBorneTheBattle Campaign.

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