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Kaitlynne Hetrick | December 17, 2021

#AdvocacyUpdate: Bob Dole Tribute, Passage of National Defense Bill, IAVA Holiday Hiatus, and More!

** IAVA Salutes the lifetime of service by Sen. Bob Dole following his December 5 passing. See our tribute and photos at the end of this page **

Legislative Update

On December 15, Congress passed the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included several pieces of IAVA-backed legislation. The NDAA  now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. Due to efforts by IAVA and other veterans organizations, IAVA is proud to announce some key priorities that passed within this year’s NDAA. They include:

  • The Global War on Terrorism Memorial will be built on the National Mall.
  • The Afghanistan War Commission Act, which authorizes a thorough bipartisan investigation of every aspect of US involvement in Afghanistan. 
  • Significant new changes to US military law to improve justice outside the chain of command for victims of military sexual assault and other serious crimes. More will be done to strengthen these new changes, as IAVA will continue to push for the full Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act (S.1520) to be passed into law.

Also this week, several IAVA-supported bills were passed from the Senate VA Committee (SVAC): 

Post-9/11 Veterans’ Mental Health Care Improvement Act (S.3293)
The MAMMO Act (S.2533)
Student Veterans Transparency and Protection Act of 2021 (S.1607)
GI Bill National Emergency Extended Deadline Act (S.1936/H.R. 2167)
Vet Center Improvement Act (S. 1944)
Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act (S. 2852)
Servicemembers and Veterans Empowerment and Support Act (H.R.5666/ S.3025)

S. 3293 by SVAC Chairman Tester and Ranking Member Moran is focused on the mental health needs of  post-9/11 veterans and includes provisions to improve veterans’ access to mental health care, bolster VA’s mental health workforce, and strengthen mental health research. As the fight to combat veteran suicide continues, IAVA has made S. 3293 one of our top priorities for 2022.

The bills passed also aim to provide mammography services to rural veterans, protect veterans’ educational benefits from expiring due to institutional closures or other factors caused by the COVID-19 national emergency, and much more! Find the full list of bills the committee passed HERE

Holiday Announcement

IAVA’s holiday hiatus will begin on December 20 and continue until January 3, 2022. During that time, our staff will be out of the office and focusing on their families. If you, or a veteran you know, need personal assistance, please reach out to IAVA’s case management program, the Quick Reaction Force. The information is listed below. 

We hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season and we look forward to continuing our national advocacy efforts in 2022!

IAVA Quick Reaction Force

IAVA understands that this time can be very stressful and triggering for veterans and we want you to know that we are here to help. IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force (QRF) provides 24/7 peer support, comprehensive care management, resource connections, and can help with accessing your VA benefits. To get connected to a Veteran Care Manager for immediate help anytime, day or night, please call 855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) or fill out our online form. Our services are remote, free, and confidential and QRF is here for all veterans, regardless of era, discharge status, or location. If you are a veteran or a veteran family member facing challenges or have questions, QRF is here to help you get back on your feet and meet your goals.

If you are currently experiencing a crisis please contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1.800..273.8255, and press 1. Alternatively, use the Crisis Text Line by texting “RISING” to 7417

Sen. Bob Dole Tribute

Sadly we all learned the news of the December 5th passing of former Senate Majority Leader, presidential candidate, and WWII hero Bob Dole. He was a true inspiration and model of a public servant who will truly be missed. It was through his leadership that the National WWII Memorial came to be, and IAVA is trying to follow his example through our efforts with the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation to establish a GWOT Memorial on the Mall for the post-9/11 generation. IAVA staff was fortunate to be able to visit the Capitol to view Sen. Dole lying in state in the Rotunda. IAVA staff also attended his Memorial Service at the National Cathedral and a Celebration of Life at the WWII Memorial. All very beautiful tributes to the late senator.

Sen. Bob Dole lies in state in the US Capitol Rotunda. Dec. 9, 2021 (Photo by Tom Porter, IAVA)

Sen. Bob Dole’s Memorial Service at the National Cathedral. Dec. 10, 2021 (Photo by Jen Burch, IAVA)

Sen. Elizabeth Dole presents a wreath at Bob Dole’s Celebration of Life at the National WWII Memorial, with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley looking on. Dec. 10, 2021 (Photo by Jen Burch, IAVA)

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