Shifting the burden of proof off of our veterans to ensure they get the benefits they’ve earned and deserve

By: House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Staff

What is Toxic Exposure?

When Americans answer the call to serve, the risk of being exposed to toxic substances during their military service probably isn’t top of mind. But for thousands of veterans — unknowingly exposed to toxic substances during their service — it’s impossible to ignore when they transition out of the military.

Whether it’s airborne hazards from burn pits and other sources while serving abroad, contaminated water at military bases from PFAS and other toxins, or radiation from atomic testing and cleanups — each passing day more and more veterans speak out about their exposure…

By: House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Staff

The GI Bill isn’t a giveaway, it’s a benefit veterans have earned for their service to our country and a critical tool to ensure that veterans can pursue higher education and stay competitive with their peers following their service. This helps level the playing field for veterans who gave up pursuits of higher education earlier in life and instead chose to serve their country.

By Chairman Mark Takano

Today, I wanted to share the priorities that will guide the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs during the 117th Congress.

From finally getting Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans the benefits they’ve earned to passing the Veterans’ COMPACT Act and making real strides to reduce veteran suicide, I’m so proud of what we accomplished in the 116th Congress. But our work is not done. That’s why I am announcing our Committee’s top nine priorities for the 117th Congress. As we continue to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, our Committee will work to create a more welcoming VA and build equity for veterans…

This Op-Ed originally appeared in Military Times on January 26, 2021

The last four years have been tumultuous for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In that time, the department responsible for serving our veterans has confronted a global pandemic, provided its Fourth Mission support to serve as our country’s backup healthcare system, and confronted natural disasters that tested VA’s ability to continue caring for veterans during the public health emergency. During the previous administration, VA targeted whistleblowers for retaliation, questioned and diminished survivors of sexual harassment and assault, expressed hostility towards organized labor, and obstructed Congress’ oversight efforts.

Despite these challenges and setbacks, it is with hope and optimism that…

Despite working the same job and encountering the same risks, National Guard servicemembers are not being paid at the same rate or receiving the same benefits — including healthcare, housing stipends, and GI Bill eligibility — as federally activated units.

All States have Mobilized Guard and Reserve Forces in Response to COVID-19

At the time of this writing, governors across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington D.C. have activated a portion of their Army and Air National Guard units in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But despite these servicemembers being called to duty, under current law many are not receiving the same benefits as their peers.

The Problem?

Members of the National Guard can be called to duty under a variety of different duty statuses.

Under State Active Duty orders, each state pays servicemembers and funds the operations they perform.

Although these servicemembers are paid, their pay and…

Veterans' Affairs Democrats

Chairman Mark Takano | House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

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