Thanks to everyone who made it to the 96th annual DAV National Convention in New Orleans. With a number of crucial veterans’ issues being front and center on Capitol Hill this year, it was great to see so many of our members enthusiastically preparing to take our legislative agenda back to their home states and communities.
Since the start of the year, we’ve been working closely with lawmakers, the administration and fellow veterans service organizations to ensure the collective voice of DAV’s nearly 1.3 million members is heard. Already this year we successfully rallied our grass roots to block harmful budget proposals to cut disability compensation as well as getting Congress to enact legislation that will modernize and reform the appeals process for benefit claims.
Most recently we were able to successfully stop a Choice funding proposal that would have ignored the needs of veterans who choose to get care in the VA system. Instead, thanks to our strong grass-roots response, bipartisan legislation to continue Choice funding—and improve access to VA health care—was signed and enacted into law.
Together we’ve won some crucial victories, but we have a lot more work to do before the end of the year. We are still fighting to make caregiver benefits available to severely disabled veterans of all generations. In June, DAV launched our Unsung Heroes Initiative to highlight the unfairness of limiting the comprehensive caregiver program to veterans injured after 9/11. Our Unsung Heroes Capitol Hill kickoff event in June brought a great deal of attention to this issue, but we can’t let up the pressure on Congress.
With our own national commander making headlines as the first woman to lead DAV, we are also continuing our fight to enhance services and benefits for women veterans. I look forward to working with the commander to achieve progress on that goal and other key legislative priorities.
I want to recognize all of our members who take up these important issues in their communities. Our grassroots advocates, and especially our Benefits Protection Team leaders and members, are leading the way and making a difference. You can join them in helping to be a voice for America’s ill and injured veterans by getting involved at dav.org/dav-benefits-protection-team and through DAV CAN (Commander’s Action Network) at davcan.org.