June 29, 2012

In This Issue:
1. National Healthcare   Upheld
2. Stolen Valor Act   Overturned; What do you think?
3. VFW Supported Bills   Clear Subcommittees
4. Senate Reviews Health and Benefits Bills for Vets
5. VFW Applauds State AGs for Protecting Student-Vets

1. National Healthcare   Upheld: The Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and   Affordable Care Act challenge on Thursday, even though a reversal would have   had little to no impact on service-connected veterans served by the   Department of Veterans Affairs or on military members and retirees served by   military medicine or enrolled in TRICARE. This is because your VFW led the   fight back in March 2010 to get Congress to recognize all VA and Defense   Department health programs as meeting minimal acceptable coverage standards   as required by a proposed national healthcare bill that had failed to include   VA health programs for widows and disabled children, and almost 90 percent of   military TRICARE programs. With the strong support of then-House Armed   Service Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), and   the grassroots advocacy of thousands of VFW members and supporters, the new,   more encompassing legislation quickly passed Congress and was signed into law   by the president on May 27, 2010. Read the high court’s ruling at http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf.

2. Stolen Valor Act   Overturned: The VFW was very disappointed to also learn   Thursday that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Stolen Valor Act of 2005   in a 6-3 decision. Still, the high court did mention in their decision that a   more narrowly defined law in the future might perhaps survive a First   Amendment free speech trial. Despite the ruling, VFW National Commander   Richard DeNoyer said the “VFW will continue to challenge far-fetched   stories, and to publicize these false heroes to the broadest extent possible   as a deterrent to others.” Read the justices’ opinions at http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-210d4e9.pdf.
What do you think? Let us know what you think of the Supreme Court’s decision   on Stolen Valor by taking our poll and leaving comments on the blog: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/06/what-do-you-think-supreme-court.html

3. VFW Supported Bills   Clear Subcommittees: This House VA Committee had a busy week   of mark-ups. A list of some of the bills cleared by subcommittees is below.   All of the legislation now moves to the full committee for a vote. To read   about the VFW-supported legislation and to read our complete testimony on   several of the measures passed, click here: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/06/house-moves-series-of-vfw-supported.html

The Subcommittee on   Oversight & Investigation cleared –
* H.R. 3730, Veterans Data Breach Timely Notification Act would require VA,   within ten days of a data breach to notify Congress and each individual whose   sensitive personal information is involved in the breach
* H.R. 5948, Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act of 2012 would provide further   protections and more oversight over veteran fiduciaries to ensure the   veterans’ needs are being handled properly.

The Subcommittee on   Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs cleared –
* H.R. 5735 establishes a Tomb of Remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery
* H.R. 5880 authorizes VA to contract with private companies for examinations   to help in the processing of disability claims.
The Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity cleared —
* H.R. 4115, HIRE at HOME Act which requires states to consider some military   training received by a veteran as valid for certification — to include a   commercial driver’s license or a certification to be a nursing assistant or   certified nursing assistant, a registered nurse, or an emergency medical   technician.
* H.R. 4057 would direct VA to develop a comprehensive outreach and   transparency policy for veterans regarding information received about higher   education institutions.
* H.R. 5747 would prohibit the sale, foreclosure or seizure of property for a   year after a service member is discharged or deployed by the military. It   also provides credit protections and asks large mortgage companies to   maintain a toll-free number for answering any financial concerns.

The Subcommittee on   Health cleared –
* H.R. 3337 the Open Burn Pit Registry Act, would direct VA to create a   registry of all service members who have been exposed to open air burn pits   in Iraq and Afghanistan. As further research opens doors to new and improved   treatments for health issues related to toxic inhalations, this registry will   help VA target those resources to those who most need them.
* H.R. 4079, the Safe Housing for Homeless Veterans Act, will ensure housing   for homeless veterans meets safe living standards.
For more information on all the bills that were cleared, visit the House VA   Committee at: http://veterans.house.gov/
4. Senate Reviews   Health and Benefit Bills for Vets: This week, The Senate   Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing to discuss over 25 health and   benefit-related bills still pending. Among the legislation discussed was   several VFW-supported provisions that would enhance services for homeless   veterans, improve access to VA mental health care, provide reproductive   services for catastrophically disabled veterans and authorize VA to include   immunizations as a part of preventive medicine within VHA. Other bills   included:
* S. 2259, Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act which   increases the rates of disability compensation for service-disabled veterans   and the rates of DIC for survivors (effective Dec 2012).
* S.1849, Rural Health Care Improvement Act legislation that requires VA to develop   a 5-year plan for improving access to and quality of health care services for   veterans in rural areas.
* S. 1391, legislation that would improve VA’s disability compensation   evaluation procedure for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or mental   health conditions related to military sexual trauma
* S. 2320, Remembering America’s Forgotten Veterans Cemetery Act of 2012,   would give the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) authority to care   for Clark Cemetery.
For a complete list of all the bills considered or to view the recorded   webcast, click here: http://veterans.senate.gov/

5. VFW Applauds State   AGs for Protecting Student-Vets: The VFW applauded the work   of 20 state attorneys general, who announced this week that the Web site   GIBill.com had officially been turned over to the Department of Veterans   Affairs, and that the Web site’s owner, QuinStreet, would pay $2.5 million to   states as part of a settlement for fraudulent recruiting practices. To see   highlights from this week’s press conference, announcing the settlement, and   to learn about the VFW’s ongoing efforts to protect student-veterans, click   here: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/06/vfw-applauds-state-attorneys-general.html

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