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IAVA Celebrates Passage of Must-Pass Defense Bill Including Priorities for Veterans and Military Families

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 4, 2020
CONTACT: press@iava.org

Washington, DC – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is celebrating the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021. The annual defense bill, which authorizes Pentagon operations for 2021, contains key provisions across a number of IAVA priorities.

The final NDAA provides new support and tracking to servicemembers and veterans that have been exposed to burn pits and other toxic exposures, critical legislation to address gaps in mental health care for the Guard and Reserve, and important steps to help support military families and readiness.

“This year’s NDAA is incredibly important as it includes numerous life saving provisions, from increased mental health care for National Guard and Reservists, to those exposed to burn pits and other toxic exposures,” said IAVA CEO Jeremy Butler. “IAVA thanks all of the Members of Congress that worked tirelessly to pass a truly bipartisan Defense bill that will not only continue to fund our military through 2021, but also provide much needed protections for servicemembers and veterans.”

Specifically, included in this year’s NDAA is a number of key IAVA-supported provisions:

  • The Pandemic Care for Burn Pits Exposure Act that IAVA worked to develop with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and others near the beginning of the COVID outbreak to provide health assessments of veterans diagnosed with a pandemic disease that have experienced toxic exposures, including burn pits;
  • Improvements for National Guard and Reserve access to mental health care regardless of deployment status, sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT);
  • Reporting by the Department of Defense on studies that have been conducted regarding the health effects of burn pit exposure by Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA);
  • and key reforms to support military families, including addressing the childcare shortage, help for families with special needs children, improvements to military housing, and important mental health care reforms for family members and retirees.

The NDAA was vetoed by President Trump near the end of December over several provisions, including its inclusion of language mandating name changes for military bases that currently honor Confederate leaders. Both Houses rightly overwhelmingly overrode that veto and IAVA appreciates their bipartisan action.

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IAVA is the voice for the post-9/11 veteran generation. With over 400,000 veterans and allies nationwide, IAVA is the leader in non-partisan veteran advocacy and public awareness. We drive historic impacts for veterans and IAVA’s programs are second to none. Any veteran or family member in need can reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at quickreactionforce.org or 855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist. IAVA’s The Vote Hub is a free tool to register to vote and find polling information. IAVA’s membership is always growing. Join the movement at iava.org/membership.

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