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Tom Porter | April 19, 2021

#AdvocacyUpdate: Burn Pits Press Conference, Testimony Before House VA Committee, and More!

Intense Week for IAVA’s DC Advocacy!

With the extraordinary news this week for our post-9/11 veteran community that the President announced he has decided to withdraw all remaining US forces from Afghanistan by the coming 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the issue was a huge topic of discussion and we responded to many requests from the media to comment. IAVA Executive VP and Afghanistan veteran Tom Porter provided his comments to MSN and Reuters in what is sure to be a conversation that will gather increasing attention as we draw closer to the anniversary.

On Tuesday, Porter joined Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Reps. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jon Stewart, and 9/11 first responders to announce a new bill to finally provide VA disability and health care benefits for veterans suffering from their military toxic exposures, like burn pits. We can’t do this without you, so please take 30 seconds to ask Congress to pass the Warfighters Act HERE. Watch the event HERE.

We’d like to thank our newest cosponsors of the Warfighters Act: Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Thomas Suozzi (D-NY), and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).

IAVA’s Tom Porter joins Congressional sponsors of the Warfighters Act to announce their new campaign to provide VA benefits to those with military toxic exposures

On Wednesday, IAVA Government Relations Associate and Navy veteran Kaitlynne Hetrick provided her FIRST live testimony to the House Veterans Affairs Committee, providing her views on a slate of bills aimed at improving veterans’ education and economic opportunities.  Watch the hearing, including her testimony HERE, and read her full written statement HERE.

IAVA’s Kaitlynne Hetrick testifies before the House Veterans Affairs Committee

We received great news that the bipartisan Supporting Education Recognition for Veterans during Emergencies (SERVE) Act was introduced this week. The legislation will ensure that veterans’ service-connected medical qualifications and expertise are utilized by the VA and civilian health care facilities to meet the challenges of the coronavirus. IAVA worked with Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) to develop the bill.

IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force 

We know that this time can be stressful and IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force (QRF) is here to help! This program 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

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