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  • VA Offers Veterans MST Care Regardless of Service Connection The Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced during a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing that it would offer veterans physical and mental health care services for military sexual trauma (MST).
  • FY 2018 Budget Outline Released and House Passes FY 2017 Defense Spending Bill The Trump Administration released an FY 2018 budget outline—often referred to as the “skinny budget”—that calls for a major increase in Defense spending by $54 billion (nine percent increase) and increases spending for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by $4.4 billion (six percent increase).
  • Bills to Expand Caregivers Program Introduced “The Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act” (H.R. 1472/S. 591) has been introduced in the House and Senate to expand the Department of Veterans Affairs Caregivers program to include veterans catastrophically disabled before September 11, 2001.
  • White House Petition on Agent Orange/Blue Water Navy Issue A petition has been put on the White House website asking President Trump to direct the VA to rescind the exclusion of Blue Water Navy Veterans, who served in the bays, harbors and territorial seas of the Republic of Vietnam, from the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange.
  • FRA Co-sponsors House Guard and Reserve Caucus Breakfast As part of its strong support of Sea Services Reserve Component enlisted personnel, FRA joined other military and veterans’ organizations in co-sponsoring the House Guard and Reserve Caucus Breakfast on Capitol Hill this week.
  • HVAC Reviews VA Community Care and VA to Expand Mental Health Care The House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) recently held an oversight hearing to examine the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Choice Program and the future of VA community care programs, authorities and budget impact.
  • Senior Enlisted Testify at Subcommittee Hearing The military senior enlisted summarized prepared testimony and ranked their respective quality-of-life concerns this week before the House Military Construction VA and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee (MilCon/VA).
  • TRICARE Meetings FRA staff, Bob Washington, recently participated in a meeting with Acting Deputy Director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA) RADM Colin Chinn, who was joined by representatives of three service Surgeons General. Discussions focused on implementation of FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) TRICARE changes.
  • Subcommittee Looks at Military Review Boards The House Armed Services, Military Personnel Subcommittee (HASC-MP) recently held an oversight hearing for the boards for correction of military records (Army, Navy, and Air Force) and the discharge review boards (Army, Navy, Air Force). HASC-MP Chair (Rep) Mike Coffman (Col.) said: “These boards are charged with the difficult mission of correcting errors in, and considering mitigating facts and removing injustices from, military records.
  • President Addresses Joint Session of Congress In his address to a joint session of Congress, President Trump called for a "new chapter of American greatness" of economic renewal and military might. His overall tone was conciliatory and optimistic.
  • Atomic Veterans Need Health Care Representative Grace Meng (N.Y.) and Senator Al Franken (Minn.) have introduced legislation (H.R. 632 & S. 283 respectively) to bring important health care benefits to "Atomic Veterans" who were exposed to high levels of harmful radiation when assigned to clean up nuclear testing sites during the late 1970s.
  • SecNav Nominee Drops Out Financier Philip Bilden withdrew from consideration for Secretary of the Navy (SecNav).
  • Independent Budget for VA Released FRA is a supporter of the Independent Budget (IB) co-authored by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
  • Upcoming Navy Birthdays FRA salutes the U.S. Navy Seabees, for its upcoming 75th birthday this Sunday.
  • Senate Agent Orange Bill Introduced U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Steve Daines (Mont.) recently reintroduced the "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act" (S. 422), legislation to ensure that thousands of Navy veterans, known as "Blue Water" veterans, are able to receive the disability and health care benefits they earned after exposure to Agent Orange while fighting in the Vietnam Conflict.
  • Help for Veteran Entrepreneurs Bunker Labs DC, a 501(c) 3 organization committed to veteran entrepreneurship, hosted the "Muster DC," to showcase and empower local veteran entrepreneurs.
  • Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) The Department of Defense (DoD) released a report this past March, that was required by the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
  • Happy Birthday Coast Guard Reserve This week (February 19) the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve celebrated its 76th birthday.
  • CBO Recommends Eliminating Concurrent Receipt The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the federal agency within the legislative branch of government that provides budget and economic information to Congress, recently issued a report with options for reducing the federal deficit.
  • SBP/DIC Offset Repeal Introduced Senator Nelson (Fla.) introduced legislation (S. 339) and Congressman Joe Wilson (S.C.) introduced identical legislation in the house (H.R. 846) that repeals the SBP/DIC Offset for survivors, sometimes referred to as the "Military Widows Tax."

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