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Legislative Matters

By Tom Doresy

Stars and Stripes

Update 8/17/2019

Comrades,

The Senate passed (67-28) the two-year budget deal HR 3877 that in effect repeals the sequestration aspect of the Budget Control Act of 2011. The budget deal will clear the way for appropriations bills for FY 2020 and FY 2021. Specifically the bill provides $738 billion in Defense spending for FY 2020. President Trump wanted $750 billion and House Democrats wanted $733 billion. The troops are receiving a 3.1% pay increase.

The VFW as well as other VSOs have dispatched a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mc Connell, Senate Minority Schumer, House Speaker Pelosi, and House Minority Leader McCarthy to request adequate funding to ensure a smooth implementation of disability benefits for Blue Water Navy Veterans. The letter states that the VA cannot effectively implement the new law if they are not adequately funded. VA anticipates the cost of extending benefits to Blue Water Veterans will be $5.7 billion and a additional $1 billion to cover increased health care expenditures, operating expenses and information technology support. VA estimates it will require 803 new employees to manage the claims.

The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year FY 2020 would eliminate the Widows Tax, which is a dollar for dollar offset of earned benefits for the surviving spouses of about 65,000 service members and veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The Senate NDAA does not have the elimination of the Widows Tax in their version. Without this provision in their Bill, it will die in the final conference. Contact your Senators now to include Widow Tax elimination in the NDAA. Axe the Widows Tax!

Service before Self

Tom Dorsey

VFW of CA District #1 – Legislative Chairman

VFW National Legislative Committee Member