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Advocacy Update: VA Secretary, #BurnPits, #SheWhoBorneTheBattle, and More!

The IAVA team continues to be busy during the Summer building legislative and policy victories! This week, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee voted on the new VA Secretary, we added over 15 cosponsors to IAVA-supported legislation, and the Department of Defense released its quarterly suicide report for the first quarter of 2018.

On Tuesday of this week, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee voted almost unanimously in favor to advance Robert Wilkie to be the next VA Secretary. Mr. Wilkie’s nomination will be voted on by the full Senate in the coming weeks, and he is expected to be confirmed as the next VA Secretary, a position that he has filled before in an acting role following the ouster of former VA Secretary, Dr. David Shulkin. Be sure to check out IAVA’s previous coverage of the VA Secretary nomination process here.

This week also saw the release of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office quarterly suicide report, which covers the first quarter of 2018. The report shows that there is still much work to be done to reduce suicide rates among troops. For a complete breakdown of the report be sure to check out IAVA Policy Intern, Nick Shapland’s, blog post here. IAVA is committed to combating veteran suicide, which is why it remains the first of our Big Six priorities.

On Wednesday, IAVA’s Legislative Team, Tom Porter and Travis Horr were pleased to attend the Military Times Service Members of the Year Awards where service members from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard were honored by the Military Times for their outstanding and heroic service. They also honored Entrepreneur of the Year and Veteran of the Year for the first time in 2018. IAVA Salutes Award for Leadership in Journalism honoree, Leo Shane, hosted the event. It was truly inspiring to hear the stories of these men and women in uniform; be sure to read the stories of all the awardees here.

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New Cosponsors to IAVA-Backed Legislation:

This week the #SheWhoBorneTheBattle Campaign continues to build momentum as the Deborah Sampson Act (S. 681/H.R. 2452) picked up another cosponsor in Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Thank you Sen. Warren for your support of this historic piece of legislation!

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Additionally, the #BurnPits Accountability Act (H.R. 5671) gained another 17 cosponsors this week! This includes four members of the House Armed Services Committee, Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Bill Shuster (R-PA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH). A huge thank you to all of our 86 cosponsors! Be sure to contact your Members of Congress in order to ensure their support by going through IAVA’s Take Action page here.

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IAVA members have been working hard this summer to gain support for all of IAVA’s Big Six priorities. Be sure to join them and have your voice heard by your Member of Congress on #SheWhoBorneTheBattle, #BurnPits, #CannabisForVets, and more by going through IAVA’s Take Action page here.

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