As the summer winds down and kids head off to school it is a good time to reflect as well as look forward to what is next for IAVA’s D.C. team.
To start, I would like to welcome our new Legislative Director, Tom Porter to the team. Tom is a fellow Navy shipmate and has a long history of advocacy and Capitol Hill presence that will benefit IAVA and our legislative team. Tom will lead a revamped team make up of Elizabeth Welke, Lauren Augustine, and Ben Young.
As pointed out previously, the first six months has been a time of tremendous accomplishment for the IAVA team. We are set to make the remaining months of 2015 just as productive.
Continuing our advocacy for mental health issues, making sure Congress addresses the healthcare needs of women veterans, continuing to reform the VA and protecting New GI Bill benefits veterans have earned are just a few of the areas we will fight for in Congress.
Unfortunately, veteran issues have not been addressed by presidential candidates from either party. In fact, in the recent Republican debate, veteran issues came up twice for a total of about 20 seconds. IAVA and its members have to educate those who wish to lead our country on such issues and insure that veterans are not pushed out of sight.
Lastly, before Congress adjourned for its summer district work period they passed the VA Accountability Act which aims to make it easier for the VA Secretary to remove bad or underperforming employees. While improved accountability is needed, so too is legislation that has a chance of passing both the House and the Senate and signed into law by the President. Unfortunately, the House legislation does not meet this goal.
Just as we crafted the bipartisan Clay Hunt SAV Act, IAVA will work in a non-political manner with members of both sides of the aisle as well as outside groups to develop a measure that maintains the goal of firing bad actors within the VA, but will actually make it to the President’s desk and become law.
Tremendous things are happening at IAVA. The Washington D.C. Policy division will continue to be your voice on Capitol Hill and with the Administration. We’ve got your back.