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IAVA Releases Policy Agenda

P   ost-9/11 vets announce 11-point policy plan for supporting our     veterans

WASHINGTON (October 27, 2015) – In advance of Veterans Day and during the continued political stalemate in Washington and the 2016 presidential campaign, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) today released its Policy Agenda — an 11-point comprehensive blueprint for how Congress and candidates can support our veterans. Beginning Wednesday at the GOP Presidential Debate in Boulder, Colo., IAVA is taking its Policy Agenda on the road, briefing decisionmakers throughout the country and calling on all elected officials and candidates to lay out their veteran-focused policies.

“With no mention by the President during his recent Afghanistan troop announcement of the toll on armed service members and veterans, and with 2016 presidential candidates largely ignoring veterans in their policy agendas and during the debates, vets continue to feel forgotten by America’s leaders,” said Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA Founder and CEO. “Veterans issues continue to get caught in the crosshairs of partisan politics in Washington. As a nonpartisan organization, IAVA calls on all stakeholders to put veterans and their families first.”

As opposed to a static agenda for one year or one session of Congress, IAVA’s Policy Agenda is a living document that will evolve and be adjusted as priorities are addressed and new issues appear. With recommendations for Congress, the Executive Branch, state and local governments, and the private, philanthropy and nonprofit sectors, IAVA’s Policy Agenda defines the challenges confronting veterans and their families and illustrates solutions to address them.

IAVA’s Policy Agenda is centered on the feedback we get directly from the veteran community,” added Matt Miller, IAVA Chief Policy Officer. “Based on that feedback, we spent the year working with veterans and their families, government officials, subject matter experts, nonprofit groups and the private sector to develop hundreds of actionable items across 11 key issues to improve the lives of veterans and their families.”

IAVA’s Big Four priorities in the Policy Agenda are:

Continuing to Combat Suicide Among Troops and Veterans;
Fully Recognizing and Improving Services for Women Veterans;
Reforming the VA for Today’s Veterans; and,
Defending Veteran and Military Education Benefits.

Additional items in the 11-point plan include ending veteran homelessness, supporting innovative healthcare solutions, supporting military families, and promoting equality for all troops and veterans.

To address the Big Four priorities as outlined in IAVA’s Policy Agenda, IAVA routinely supports and calls on Congress to pass legislation aligned with these goals, including the following:

– Military Veterans and Veterans Education Protection Act (S.1664);
– Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act (H.R. 2915) [includes provisions in the Classified Veterans Access to Care Act (H.R. 421)];
– VA Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R. 1994);
– Women Veterans Access to Quality Care Act (H.R. 1356/S.471); and,
– Enhancing Veterans Access to Treatment Act of 2015 (H.R. 2123).

Throughout 2015 and 2016, IAVA will take its Policy Agenda to officials and staff on the Hill, White House, Pentagon and VA to pressure them to put partisan politics aside and prioritize the post-9/11 veteran community. In addition, IAVA staff and local members will be present at each of the 2016 presidential debates to call on candidates to lay out veteran-focused policies.

“We’re prepared to do what’s best for America’s veterans regardless of parties or stance,” concluded Miller.

To view IAVA’s complete Policy Agenda and Legislative priorities visit IAVA.org.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

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 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.