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2012 At the Committee: Welcome to the New House Committee on Veterans' Affairs eNewsletter!
2011 built the foundation for the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs for 2012. We are honored to continue to serve America's veterans and their families here on Capitol Hill, and we are committed to ensuring our veterans receive the benefits they have earned through their service to our great Nation. These are challenging times, but we are dedicated to the task at hand, and we will succeed in our mission to serve you.
VA Cemetery Audit
Chairman Miller has called on VA to complete an audit of veterans gravesites to ensure all veterans and their dependents are buried in the correct graves, stating, “Although I am glad these mistakes have been found, this never should have happened in the first place.” The Committee will continue to investigate this issue and work with VA to ensure these problems do not arise ever again at our veterans cemeteries. Read Chairman Miller’s full statement here.
RIP Secretary Derwinski
The Committee mourns the passing of the first VA secretary, Edward Derwinski. Derwinski began his career as a private in the Army during World War II, rising to cabinet secretary under President George H.W. Bush. Secretary Derwinski was committed to America’s veterans and lead the way in VA recognizing Agent Orange exposure as a service-connected disability. To learn more about Secretary Derwinski’s life, click here.
2012 at the Committee
Chairman Miller laid out the Committee’s priorities for the year ahead, including remaining focused on decreasing the veteran unemployment rate. Talking to the Military Times, Chairman Miller said of the new law, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, “if this is not implemented in a timely fashion, it’s not going to achieve the positive results we all expect.” The Committee held an oversight hearing on the new veteran employment legislation in December and will continue to monitor VA and DoL to ensure as many veterans as possible can take advantage of the expanded benefits provided.
New Committee Members
The Committee would like to welcome it’s two newest Members, Rep. Mark Amodei and Rep. Bob Turner. As veterans themselves, we are delighted to have their expertise and insight in representing America’s veterans in Congress. To learn more about Reps. Amodei and Turner, click here.
Last weekend, Red Tails opened to critical acclaim nationwide. Telling the story of the Tuskegee Airman on the big screen, this exciting film documents how one band of brothers overcame all the odds to fight for America and make history. Read what it was like to be a Tuskegee Airman, from one veteran’s point of view.
Too Good to Miss
Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin helped to track down what one veteran thought was lost forever – a howitzer shell casing engraved with the “Thirsty 3rd’s” members names. Cpl. Plenge spoke of the shell casing for more than 60 years, but no one in his family or his friends had ever seen it – until Rep. Duffy’s office stepped in. Recovered recently and delivered to Cpl. Plenge’s family, this is truly a story not to miss.
Upcoming Committee Hearings
- February 1 - Examining VA’s Pharmaceutical Prime Vendor Contract: 10 a.m.
- February 2 - Lowering the Rate of Unemployment for the National Guard: 10 a.m.