New administration; same DAV legislative priorities

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On Nov. 8, 2016, America elected Donald J. Trump to be the next President of the United States. President-elect Trump will take the oath of office January 20, 2017 to become the nation’s 45th president. During this time of transition, it is imperative to keep up the fight for the rights of veterans.

DAV has provided a list of five key legislative priorities to the new president-elect in an effort to ensure key veterans’ issues remain at the forefront, including: ensuring veterans have access to high quality and timely health care; extending comprehensive caregiver benefits for veterans of all generations; meeting the unique needs of women veterans and ensuring they have access to equitable health care services and benefits; helping veterans with disabilities find meaningful employment; and providing timely and effective mental health services for veterans.

“We are looking forward to working with president-elect Trump and his administration to continue advocating for better care for veterans,” said DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Garry Augustine. “We have provided critical information and opened the doors of communication to help ease the transition and to make sure veterans don’t get left behind.”

Additionally, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald has formed a transition team to maintain the progress made in the VA during his tenure. The success of the MyVA initiative is beginning to take root, but there is much more that needs to be done to improve the VA and increase access to timely care for our nation’s veterans. The department’s semi-annual report released in early November showed signs of continued improvement at VA, including a 13 percent increase in trust among veterans, completion of 1.2 million more appointments in 2016 than in 2015 and more accurate processing of disability claims, reducing pending claims by almost 90 percent.

“Both critics and proponents of the VA system have acknowledged that change takes time, but since the beginning of the MyVA initiative two years ago we have seen improvements—both on paper and from our members,” said Augustine. “I hope the new administration takes these proven positive changes into consideration when deciding the future direction of the department.”