Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committe Clears Putting Veterans Funding First Act

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The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee cleared several  bills that will improve access to healthcare and shield veterans from any budget or shutdown uncertainly that may occur in the future.  The senate version of The Putting Veterans Funding First Act (S. 932) was cleared and sent for consideration on November 19th.  The bill will fund all VA programs a year in advance.

Currently, only VA medical care accounts are provided an advance appropriation.  The House cleared a similar bill (H.R. 913) in August which calls for advance funding beginning with the 2016 budget.  The House version currently has a 74% chance of being enacted. The Senate’s version currently has 40% chance of being enacted.

The Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013 – Authorizes the provision of advance appropriations for the following discretionary (under current law, medical care) accounts of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):
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Other bills cleared by the Senate include:

S. 1604 Veterans Health Care Eligibility Expansion and Enhancement Act of 2013

  • Expands the period of eligibility to enroll in VA healthcare for Post 9/11 combat veterans to include Guard and Reserves from 5 to 10 years. It also simplifies VA method in determining eligibility based on income thus allowing more veterans to enroll in VA.

S. 1593 Servicemember Housing Protection Act of 2013

  • Extends protections for service members with regards to sales contracts, mortgage penalties and provides further improvements under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act or SCRA. All of the bills now move to the Senate floor for debate.

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List of VA Hospitals Now on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and More

All of you veterans leading secret lives as fellow social media addicts please give the VA a round of applause.  Here is the Department of Veterans Affairs Social Media Directory.  For all of you who have something to say to the VA…..do it our way!!!

In the directory below, you’ll find links to all VA organizations currently using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and blogs. More to come… social-media-header
 Department
 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Facebook IconTwitter IconFlickr IconBlog IconYouTube Icon
 Administrations
 Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog IconYouTube Icon
 Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog IconYouTube Icon
 National Cemetery Administration (NCA) Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog IconYouTube Icon
 VA Medical Centers
 Alaska
 Alaska VA Healthcare System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Alabama
 Birmingham VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Arizona
 Northern Arizona VA Health Care System (Prescott, AZ) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Phoenix VA Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (Tucson, AZ) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Arkansas
 Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks (Fayetteville, AR) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 California
 San Francisco VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Central California Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Loma Linda Healthcare System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Long Beach Healthcare System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Northern California Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Palo Alto Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA San Diego Healthcare System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Colorado
 VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Grand Junction VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Connecticut
 Connecticut VA Health Care System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Delaware
 Wilmington VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 District of Columbia
 Washington DC VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Florida
 Bay Pines VA Healthcare System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Miami VA Healthcare System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital (Tampa, FL) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Orlando VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 West Palm Beach VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Georgia
 Atlanta VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Carl Vinson VA Medical Center (Dublin, GA) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center (Augusta, GA) Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Hawaii
 VA Pacific Islands Health Care System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Idaho
 Boise VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Illinois
 Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital (Hines, IL) Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (Chicago, IL) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Marion VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Illiana Health Care System (Danville, IL) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Indiana
 Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center (Indianapolis, IN) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Northern Indiana Health Care System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Iowa
 Central Iowa Health Care System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Iowa City VA Health Care System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Kansas
 Leavenworth VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Topeka VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Wichita VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Kentucky
 Lexington VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Robley Rex VA Medical Center (Louisville, KY) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Louisiana
 Alexandria VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 New Orleans VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Overton Brooks VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Maine
 VA Maine Healthcare System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Maryland
 VA Maryland Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Massachusetts
 Boston VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford, MA) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Michigan
 Battle Creek VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center (Iron Mountain, MI) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Detroit VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Minnesota
 Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Minneapolis VA Health Care System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 St. Cloud VA Health Care System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Missouri
 Columbia MO VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Kansas City VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Poplar Bluff VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 St. Louis VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Mississippi
 G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center (Jackson, MS) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (Biloxi, MS) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Montana
 VA Montana Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Nebraska
 VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Nevada
 VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 New Mexico
 New Mexico VA Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 New Hampshire
 Manchester VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 New Jersey
 VA New Jersey Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 New York
 Albany Stratton VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Bath VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Canandaigua VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 James J. Peters Bronx VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Northport VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Syracuse VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA NY Harbor Healthcare System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Hudson Valley Healthcare System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Western New York Healthcare System at Buffalo Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 North Carolina
 Asheville VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Charles George VA Medical Center (Asheville, NC) Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Durham VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Fayetteville VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 W. G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center (Salisbury, NC) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 North Dakota
 VA Medical Center Fargo Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Ohio
 Cincinnati VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center (Columbus, OH) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Chillicothe VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Dayton VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Oklahoma
 Muskogee VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Oklahoma City VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Oregon
 VA Roseberg Healthcare System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center & Clinics Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Portland VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Pennsylvania
 Butler VA Healthcare Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Coatesville VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Erie VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Lebanon VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 James E. Van Zandt Altoona VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Philadelphia VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Puerto Rico
 VA Caribbean Healthcare System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Rhode Island
 Providence VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 South Carolina
 Columbia SC VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center (Charleston, SC) Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center (Columbia, SC) Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 South Dakota
 VA Black Hills Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Sioux Falls VA Health Care System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Tennessee
 Memphis VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Mountain Home VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Tennessee Valley Healthcare System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Texas
 Amarillo VA Health Care System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Central Texas VA Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 El Paso VA Health Care System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (Houston, TX) Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 North Texas Health Care System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 West Texas VA Health Care System Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 South Texas Veterans Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Utah
 VA Salt Lake City Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Vermont
 White River Junction VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Virginia
 Hampton VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Hunter Holmes McGuire Richmond VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Salem VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Washington
 VA Puget Sound Health Care System Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center (Walla Walla, WA) Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Spokane VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 West Virginia
 Beckley VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Huntington VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Martinsburg VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Wisconsin
 William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Milwaukee VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Tomah VA Medical Center Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Wyoming
 Cheyenne VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Sheridan VA Medical Center Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Offices
 Program
 Post-9/11 GI Bill Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 National Center for PTSD Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Careers Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconBlog Icon
 Returning Service Members Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Canteen Service Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2) Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Staff
 Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction Inactive Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs Inactive Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Office of Human Resources and Administration Inactive Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Office of Information and Technology Inactive Facebook IconTwitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Office of Management Inactive Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Office of Operations, Security and Preparedness Inactive Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Office of Policy and Planning Inactive Facebook IconInactive Twitter IconInactive Flickr IconInactive Blog Icon
 Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs Facebook IconTwitter IconFlickr IconBlog IconYouTube Icon

VFW National Convention 2011 in San Antonio Brings Opportunity to Discuss Priority Goals

Saturday August 27th, 2011 I will be leaving the great state of Missouri and heading to sunny San Antonio, Texas for the 2011 VFW and Ladies Auxiliary National Convention.

While many veterans and sisters will be enjoying some of the beautiful sights and historical events (our organization’s visit coincides with the 175th anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo), the main focus is to discuss ways to implement priority goals.

To give you an idea how hard the Veterans of Foreign Wars works, read the list of 2011 priority goals taken from the March 2011 issue of Ladies Auxiliary Magazine….

The VFW 2011 priority goals are:

VA HEALTH CARE

*Provide sufficient funding for the VA so that the highest quality care is available for all veterans.

*Ensure that this nation meets the many health care and benefits challenges facing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, including increased funding for suicide prevention, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and other related disabilities.

*Expand programs that improve specialized care for women veterans and ensure that they have equal access to all VA’s health care services.

*Provide necessary training for gender-specific care and mental health care services for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), military sexual trauma and other needs.

*Improve outreach so that all veterans – especially female, minority and rural veterans – are aware of the health care services and benefits they have earned.

VA BENEFITS AND COMPENSATION

* Reduce the backlog of pending claims.

*Encourage the Congress to use its vital oversight authority to provide real accountability within the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA).

* Call on Congress and VA to conduct further studies to determine which disabilities, and level of disability, adversely affect a veteran’s quality of life.

*VA and Congress should adjust the Rating Schedule to ensure that veterans are adequately compensated.

*Call on Congress to pass legislation that offers workable solutions, not quick fixes, to the VBA system.

SEAMLESS TRANSITION

*Demand a seamless transition for those men and women serving in uniform who are transferring from Department of Defense to VA, including a truly integrated electronic medical record that travels from duty stations to VA or other health care facilities.

* Call on Congress and the Administration to improve the transition services and benefits provided to our veterans to ensure a steady and safe return to civilian life, including timely benefit processing, viable training, employment and education programs.

MILITARY QUALITY OF LIFE

* Call on Congress to remain fully committed to improving the quality of life for all active duty and Reserve Component members and their families.

* Fully fund all programs that enable our troops to succeed in their mission.Ensure our service men and women are provided increased pay, affordable health care, and adequate housing and work facilities for themselves and their families.

EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

* Congress must immediately address the highest unemployment rates among veterans in recent history by enhancing the Post 9/11 GI Bill, including allowing the benefit to be utilized for vocational training, on-the-job training and apprenticeships.

* Ask Congress to pass legislation that will strengthen the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and reverse legal decisions that tended to favor employers.

* Urge Congress to mandate that all agencies reach the 3% government-wide procurement goal for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and be required to report their procurement levels and be held accountable if they fail to meet that goal.

MILITARY AFFAIRS

* Seek to improve the quality of life for all active and Reserve Component members and their families.

* Provide a military base-pay raise to restore full comparability with private sector wages.

*Support efforts to lower the Reserve Component retirement pay age to 55.

* Oppose any Tricare fee increases.

DEFENSE AND HOMELAND SECURITY

* Support U.S. troops and their mission to prosecute the war on terrorism around the world.

* Ensure defense funding is at a level to fully support personnel initiatives, troop end-strength requirements, and needed weapons programs.

* Halt the development and/or proliferation of nuclear weapons or material, and urge the continued development and deployment of ballistic missile defense system.

* Secure U.S. borders, shorelines and all ports of entry.

POW/MIA

* Achieve the fullest possible accounting of all U.S. military personnel missing from our nation’s wars.

Note: For a full listing of the VFW’s 2011 Priority Goals, go to www.vfw.org/VFW-in-DC

VA Admits Association Between Gulf War and Gastrointestinal Disorders

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adopts as a final rule the proposal to amend its adjudication regulations regarding presumptive service connection for medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses associated with service in the Southwest Asia theater of operations for which there is no record during service.

This amendment implements a decision by the Secretary that there is a positive association between service in Southwest Asia during certain periods and the subsequent development of functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) and clarifies that FGIDs fall within the scope of the existing presumptions of service connection for medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses.

DATES: This final rule is effective August 15, 2011. Applicability Date: This final rule shall apply to claims pending before, filed with or remanded to VA on or after August 15, 2011.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nancy Copeland, Regulations Staff (211D), Compensation and Pension Service, Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 461-9685. (This is not a toll-free number.)

Read the entire ruling>>