Today, during a joint hearing, the members of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees heard testimony from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) on its 2012 legislative priorities.
Commander-In-Chief Richard DeNoyer told the Joint Committee that VFW's biggest concerns heading into the future are servicemembers transitioning back into civilian life, VA's budget, VA medical care, and the claims backlog. The majority of the conversation centered around the possibility of sequestration, and its potential impact on the veteran's community.
"Your two Committees have a long history of taking care of veterans in a bipartisan manner. The VFW gratefully appreciates what you have and continue to do for veterans and their families. We also understand that current budget realities are forcing very hard choices in Congress and agencies and departments across the executive branch. I urge you all to remember in the coming days that Congress's first mandate is the protection of its citizens. To do that, Congress must protect those who have volunteered to protect our nation," stated Commander DeNoyer.
The Committee members present echoed the thoughts of VFW leadership on sequestration. "Since August, when the Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed, I have sought assurances from both Secretary Shinseki and President Obama that VA would be exempt from sequestration, as the law intended. Unfortunately, I have failed to receive any assurances from the Administration that our veterans would be exempt from the negative effects of sequestration," said Chairman Jeff Miller.
Miller thanked VFW for its continued partnership with the Committee as it moves forward on sequestration and all other issues. "Our work has just begun and significant challenges remain ahead for us all, but I am thankful and proud to once again have the support of the VFW."