VA to Testify Before Congress This Week on Vet Transition Programs

NGAUS Welcomes Arizona National Guard to DC

Today, NGAUS welcomed 40 young officers from the Arizona National Guard to the National Guard Memorial building here in Washington, DC where they listened to a Legislative Briefing from Acting Director, Pete Duffy, and a Membership Briefing from Membership Deputy Director, Bonnie Carter. They also toured the museum. Tomorrow, we'll welcome 60 Arizona National Guardsmen and women for a day of professional development and Hill visits to their Representatives and Senators, followed by a reception at NGAUS. 

State visits to NGAUS are a great way to learn about what's happening with the National Guard in Washington, DC, hear about Guard legislative issues, and then discuss those issues with your Members of Congress, who want to hear from you!

House Turns Focus to Vets Transitioning from Battlefield
Two members of President Obama’s Cabinet will testify together at a joint hearing between the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki will appear before the two panels on Wednesday to testify about veterans transitioning back to civilian life. A House aide said that the two committees have sought to hold the joint hearing for a while because there’s overlap between the two panels and the agencies.

Eric Shinseki

Lawmakers are likely to home in on healthcare issues with veterans and the VA, particularly as the military plans to cut 100,000 soldiers over the next five years and complete troop drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan. The VA recently announced it was hiring 1,900 mental health workers to help address delays in veterans receiving care. But the agency was also hit by a Government Accountability Office report that said it was exaggerating how quickly it saw mental health patients. The question of how to lower the unemployment rate for veterans is likely to be discussed as well.

And of course, with Panetta testifying before Congress, you can also expect questions on other hot-button issues, from Syria to nuclear stockpile reductions. The $500 billion in defense cuts to sequestration are also a prime topic for the hearing, and they are the focus of an event later Wednesday with four top Republicans.

Tell us: what do you think the VA needs to change or improve?

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