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Press Call: Vets Groups Explain Opposition to Massive Vets Spending Bill

By Concerned Veterans for America

Press Call: Vets Groups Explain Opposition to Massive Vets Spending Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Kate Pomeroy | 703-638-3927  

PRESS CALL TOMORROW: 9amET

Vets Groups Explain Why They Oppose Massive Vets Spending Bill

Costly omnibus veterans bill will lead to longer wait times, worse outcomes for vets

Arlington, VA – Today Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) — a veterans and military family advocacy organization — announced opposition to the new omnibus veterans bill in Congress. CVA joins American Veterans (AMVETS) in opposing the bill.  Tomorrow both organizations will hold a press call to explain their shared, and separate, reasons for opposition. Call-in Number: 530-881-1000 Access Code: 964724 # The Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014 (S.1950), a new omnibus bill introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), would vastly and prematurely expand access to veterans benefits (regardless of disability status), driving up costs and creating further delays in a VA system that is already failing to meet veterans needs. S.1950 does replace the military retirement COLA cuts, a much needed fix; but it does so with $30 billion in additional spending, paid for by taking from war funds. As a result, CVA opposes the Sanders bill, and instead supports S.1977 — an updated version of Senator Kelly Ayotte’s Honor Our Promise Act.  S.1977 also repeals the COLA cuts, but does not increase spending and does not divert much-needed war funding. “We all want what’s best for the veterans community, and many of the provisions in S.1950 are positive.” said Pete Hegseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans for America. “However, ‘bigger’ doesn’t mean ‘better,’ and the Sanders bill would only foist new responsibilities and promises on a federal department that is already overwhelmed and overburdened. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should keep the promises they’ve already made, rather than create new ones—imposing even longer wait times and poorer quality service for veterans. CVA supports S.1977 instead, because it repeals the military retirement COLA cuts while not adding additional deficit spending.” Tomorrow, CVA will join AMVETS for a 9amET Telephone Press Conference. On the call will be Pete Hegseth, Darin Selnick, and Stewart Hickey. Darin Senick is CVA‘s top VA advisor, having served 8 years as a special assistant to multiple VA Secretaries.  Stewart Hickey is the Executive Director of AMVETS, one of the largest veterans service organization in America.  All participants will be available for Q&A.  In a letter to Senator Sanders, Stewart Hickey voiced AMVETS opposition: “After much careful consideration and discussion of your massive veteran’s omnibus bill, S. 1950, the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014, I am unable to offer our full and unqualified support at this time. While this legislation does address several of our legislative priorities, I have enough reservations which preclude offering AMVETS’ support.” Hegseth also noted that the bill’s massive expansion of health benefits to veterans with non-service connected disabilities would only drive more veterans into a system that is already plagued by long waits times and an unresponsive bureaucracy.  Those veterans seeking care due to non-service-related injuries or illnesses may be better served by the private insurance market and other programs.

For more information please contact Kate Pomeroy at kpomeroy@cv4a.org or 703-638-3927

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Concerned Veterans for America is a non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization that advocates for policies that will preserve the freedom and prosperity we and our families so proudly fought and sacrificed to defend.