New York, NY (July 28, 2014) – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing post-9/11 veterans and their families, applauds leaders from the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees for reaching a deal on legislation aiming to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The majority of the bill focuses on increasing access to immediate care for veterans who either live over 40 miles from a VA medical center or who must wait over 30 days for a medical appointment. The deal also includes important provisions that have been top policy goals and priorities for IAVA including the GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act, the VA Management Accountability Act, further reforms to combat military sexual trauma, and both short-term and long-term staffing and leasing authorizations to increase the VA’s capacity to serve veterans.
IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff released the following statement following the deal:
“IAVA members nationwide are pleased that we finally have a deal on this important legislation. Since the scandal broke in late April, our veterans have been shocked at the sheer scope of alleged wrongdoing and corruption of wait lists and manipulation of data at hospitals and offices across the country. Our lawmakers should not be getting in a political fight when it comes to taking care of the brave men and women who have worn the uniform. Now, IAVA urges Congress to quickly pass the final language of this compromise legislation. We also encourage the Senate to confirm Bob McDonald so that he can implement the provisions included in the bill and the recommendations from IAVA’s eight-point “Marshall Plan” for restoring confidence within the VA. Our veterans need real action and focus from the President. He’s been silent for weeks and has still yet to meet with IAVA and top veterans groups to address the VA scandal.”
The deal comes a week after IAVA released its Annual Membership Survey, in which 69 percent of respondents said they think Congress and 54 percent believe the President is doing a poor job improving the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
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Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 15th anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 8,000 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.