Grassroots veterans group cautiously optimistic as it releases ambitious agenda to protect past legislative gains and grow into new issue areas
ARLINGTON, Va.—Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) on Tuesday released its 2019 federal legislative agenda, laying down markers for the new Congress on important issues. The group looks to build on the momentum it created with legislative wins in 2017 and 2018, while expanding into issue areas in which it has not historically been heavily involved.
“We have made great strides in advancing good policy with the previous Congress, especially with regards to VA reform,” said Dan Caldwell, CVA Executive Director. “CVA will continue to vigorously defend the progress we have made for veterans and ensure future reform legislation puts the veteran first rather than the VA bureaucracy.”
The group is also looking to broaden its reach into new issue areas, such as foreign policy, while expanding its efforts to reform the Department of Defense (DoD), and continuing its push to fix the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“We definitely see new opportunities to advance critical reforms where we haven’t necessarily had the chance before,” Caldwell continued. “Historically, divided government has yielded some of the greatest spending restraint, and with new leadership in the House, we have an opportunity to advance difficult, but much-needed reforms to the Department of Defense – like authorizing another round of Base Realignment and Closure efforts.”
The group lays out ways forward on its traditional issue sets, such as ensuring VA employees remain accountable to the veterans they serve and expanding veterans’ health care options beyond the VA. It also aims to address issues that have proven controversial in Congress, such as base realignment and closure (BRAC) measures and reasserting Congress’ role in foreign policy through a reexamination of the authorization for use of military force (AUMF). CVA has recently become more vocal in support of President Trump’s planned withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan, advocating for a foreign policy based on ‘realism and restraint.’
“It is up to Congress to make sure we do right by our veterans and set our Armed Forces up for success in the future – by getting our fiscal house in order, making sure we are holding our partners and allies accountable for their defense responsibilities, and using our military might only when necessary to preserve our safety, prosperity, and way of life,” Caldwell added. “We have an opportunity to provide our veterans, servicemembers, and the American people the certainty they need to pursue their best life. CVA and its grassroots army stand ready to engage lawmakers and hold them accountable for real change and better governance.”