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Advocacy Update: #SheWhoBorneTheBattle, #BurnPits, & More!

While the House remains on their Summer recess, the Senate returned for a shortened work week, and IAVA continued to build legislative victories. We’ve added 11 new cosponsors to IAVA-backed legislation (see below for more on that), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is changing regulatory practices which veterans need to be aware of, and positive changes have been codified for Military OneSource.

On Tuesday, IAVA’s Chief Policy Officer, Melissa Bryant, went on HLN with Carol Costello to discuss military readiness and personnel. “From IAVA’s perspective and the Post-9/11 generation, after 17 years of war, we’re more concerned about taking care of veterans when they take off the uniform….We want to ensure we don’t face cuts to our health care and our benefits,” Melissa said on the program.

She also noted that the military parade President Trump ordered the Pentagon to execute this Veterans Day was authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), however, the parade was abruptly postponed until at least 2019 due to reports of astronomical cost–$92 million–well beyond previous estimates of $12 million. 70 percent of IAVA members opposed the parade. IAVA continues to be focused on our Big Six priorities, in order to protect our veterans and servicemembers.

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This week also saw a blow to veterans as the CFPB plans to suspend examinations of lenders that could be in violation of the Military Lending Act, which was passed into law with bipartisan support in order to protect our servicemembers from predatory loans. This is an issue that many servicemembers and veterans are unfortunately intimately aware of, as they are four times more likely to be targeted than their civilian counterparts. For a full rundown of the changes and how they could affect you, check out Melissa Bryant’s blog here.

Also with the signing of the yearly NDAA last week, some changes are already underway. Military OneSource will now be available to transitioning servicemembers for a full year after their separation or retirement from the military. This gives newly separated servicemembers and their family members an additional six months to use this free service as they transition to civilian life. Be sure to check out IAVA’s Research Director, Stephanie Mullen’s, blog post covering all the changes here.

New Cosponsors to IAVA-Backed Legislation:

This week the #BurnPits Accountability Act (S. 3181/H.R. 5671) picked up 10 new cosponsors across the House and the Senate! This includes Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Thank you to all of our over 120 cosponsors!

Additionally this week the #SheWhoBorneTheBattle campaign continues to gain strength as the Deborah Sampson Act (S. 681/H.R. 2452) gained another cosponsor in Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA)! IAVA met with Rep. Connolly during our Summer Storm the Hill event and expressed the need for this important piece of legislation. Thank you Rep. Connolly for being the latest cosponsor of the Deborah Sampson Act!

Speaking of Storm the Hill, our Fall Storm the Hill is right around the corner! It kicks off on Monday, October 1st and goes through Friday, October 5th in Washington D.C. If you want to be apart of a team that will have lasting impact throughout the year, be sure to apply here! We hope to see you in October!

Can’t make it to Storm the Hill but still want to do your part to help build momentum on IAVA’s Big Six priorities? You can still make your voice heard by going through our Take Action page and ensuring that your Members of Congress are signed on here.

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