Congress is back in session and the IAVA DC team is as busy as ever pressing on with our #SheWhoBorneTheBattle campaign and fighting to #DefendTheGIBill. This week, President Trump issued an executive order (EO) to improve accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by setting up an Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. IAVA believes the EO is a step in the right direction, as the Secretary needs more tools in order to enforce accountability within the VA. We will be closely watching implementation of the EO to ensure the new policy is accomplishing its goals.
Ahead of President Trump’s visit and press conference at the VA this past Thursday, IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff participated in a monthly Veteran Service Organization (VSO) roundtable with VA Secretary David Shulkin and senior VA officials. Secretary Shulkin briefed IAVA and other leading groups on their work in the first 100 days and its plans moving forward. Paul reiterated IAVA’s priorities, including our focus on the #SheWhoBorneTheBattle campaign, ongoing efforts to #DefendTheGIBill from a proposed tax on enlistees, alarming new data about suicide rates for women veterans, and other top priorities outlined in our most recent Policy Agenda.
In addition, the partisan fight over how to keep the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year has resulted in passage of a stop-gap, one week spending bill, which the President is expected to sign. Congress aims to pass a bill for the rest of the fiscal year next week, averting a government shutdown. Here are some policy highlights from this week:
- IAVA Research Director, Jackie Maffucci, participated in a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC) roundtable on the future of the VA caregiver program. IAVA Political & Intergovernmental Affairs Director, Melissa Bryant, also participated in a separate roundtable on challenges the caregiver program faces with VSOs and VA senior officials.
- IAVA Legislative Director, Tom Porter, worked with our partner, the Global War on Terror (GWOT) Foundation and Congress towards establishing a Global War on Terror Memorial on the National Mall.
- Met with the offices of Reps Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), Scott Taylor (R-VA), and Scott Perry (R-PA) to ask their support of our #SheWhoBorneTheBattle campaign and #DefendTheGIBill concerns.
And as always, here are some awesome #SheWhoBorneTheBattle and #DefendTheGIBill tweets!