LETTER FROM OUR VP – WWP Government Affairs Update
Happy Holidays, and welcome to Project Advocacy News, our quarterly policy update.
As we come up on the end of the year, we’re excited to share the wide-ranging activities we’ve undertaken on behalf of wounded warriors throughout 2021, and we look forward to their continuation and expansion into 2022.
This year was challenging for many reasons, not least of which include the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the end of U.S. presence in Afghanistan. We recognize the impact and ultimate sacrifice many of our nation’s heroes have paid to protect America, and we encourage warriors to reach out if you need help.
WWP focused on introducing, supporting, and advocating for legislation on issues that most impact our warriors: treatment for toxic exposures, care for women veterans, expanded access to mental health care, increased support for caregivers, improved benefits, and the establishment of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial on the National Mall.
In 2021 alone, we:
- Testified in 9 congressional hearings
- Submitted 13 written statements for the record to congressional committees on issues that matter most to you
- Sent 23 position letters to Senate and House committee leaders in Congress
- Met with 167 members of Congress and their staff to discuss our legislative priorities
- Shared our advocacy priorities with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough
- Released our Women Warriors Initiative Report, which compiled feedback from nearly 5,000 women warriors
- Kicked off a campaign to call and support 40,000 Afghanistan veterans
- Held a successful Capitol Hill news conference in support of building the Global War on Terrorism Memorial on the National Mall.
- Joined First Lady Jill Biden and the Joining Forces initiative at a White House event to highlight public-private support to address the needs of children of military and veteran caregivers.
While 2021 was a productive year, we will keep our pulse on imperative legislative initiatives as we move to 2022, including:
- The Comprehensive and Overdue Support for Troops (COST) of War Act and the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, which would grant VA health care enrollment eligibility to any veteran who suffered toxic exposures while in service regardless of their service-connected disability claim status.
- The Mark O’Brien and Brian Neuman VA Clothing Allowance Act, which would improve the application and review process of the VA for clothing allowance claims submitted by veterans.
- The Major Richard Star Act, which would allow veterans with a combat-related disability and fewer than 20 years of service to receive retirement pay, without reduction, concurrently with their disability compensation.
- The Veterans Expedited TSA Screening Safe Travel Act, which would provide severely injured and disabled veterans a more dignified experience when passing through security checkpoints at our nation’s airports.
WWP will continue working with Representatives and Senators, officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, veterans service organizations, and other important stakeholders to advance priorities that support wounded, ill, or injured Service members, Veterans, caregivers, and their family members. We need your help to continue engaging our nation’s leaders on impactful issues.
To honor and empower, and with best wishes for a meaningful new year,