Hope all of you had a great Presidents Day weekend! But a day off doesn’t stop the IAVA DC team from pressing on with our policy priorities.
On Monday, Feb. 12, the Trump Administration released its annual budget request which asked for large increases in VA and DOD spending. While the document does not have the force of law, the request is an annual exercise that outlines the Administration’s priorities to Congress and the public. For more information on the President’s budget request, check out this blog from IAVA’s Legislative Director, Tom Porter.
IAVA Chief Policy Officer, Melissa Bryant, participated in a VSO senior leadership meeting with the Executive in Charge of the Veterans Health Administration, Dr. Carolyn Clancy, where the VA budget and 2018 priorities were discussed at length. Tom spent some time in our New York City Headquarters last week to coordinate with our HQ staff and conduct planning for IAVA’s 2018 advocacy efforts.
On Feb. 15, VA Secretary Shulkin testified at an unusually early 8 am hearing by the House Veterans Affairs Committee on the Administration’s budget request for his Department. Fresh off his train from New York the night before, Tom attended to hear the Secretary answer questions from the Committee on the Administration’s priorities and a controversial Inspector General report on his overseas travel that has gotten significant media attention. Archived video of the hearing is here.
IAVA and 35 other veterans and military service organizations sent a letter last week to the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), asking him to oppose efforts to roll back student protections and laws that guard against fraud. We also asked to meet with the Committee to share ideas on how to protect military and veteran students.
In case you missed it last week, we also published a blog from IAVA Research Director, Stephanie Mullen, breaking down DOD’s latest suicide report. In addition, we also published a special guest blog from one of IAVA’s veteran leaders in New York City, Kristen Rouse, on Mayor de Blasio’s State of the City speech on Tuesday.
Details are coming soon on our March Storm the Hill! Check back here and on our social media channels for more updates on that and our other DC work. Stay tuned!