Ready or not, 2022 is in full swing.
We at CVA have plans to make this our most effective year ever, working with and for our fellow veterans to continue defending the freedom we fought for in uniform.
We’ll do this the same way we always have, by amplifying your voices and speaking up on the issues we have first-hand experience with: foreign policy, national defense, and veterans’ issues.
While at first glance these issues seem to touch only the military community, they have implications for the whole country, from how the U.S. is positioned in the world to our military readiness to even the strength of our own communities.
While we made some incredible strides in 2021, we know our work is cut out for us this year.
Find out how we plan to keep the momentum going with our policy agenda for 2022:
One ‘forever war’ is over; now let’s end the others
Last year, we saw a major accomplishment in our effort to end endless wars.
The U.S. completed a full withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending two decades of conflict just before the September 11 anniversary. But the withdrawal itself was chaotic and tragic, emphasizing just how poorly the war had been executed over 20 years.
We’ll continue to call for accountability for the Afghanistan War, from the launch to the withdrawal and everything in between. Taking a hard, honest look at the war will better prepare our leaders to avoid making the same mistakes again.
In that vein, we’re continuing to call for a full troop withdrawal from Iraq in 2022. Last year, the mission in Iraq was reclassified as “non-combat,” but that distinction is in name only. Troops are still in harm’s way, sustaining multiple attacks in 2022. U.S. involvement in Iraq needs to end for real and all troops brought home.
Finally, we want to address the root cause of our endless wars: Congress ignoring its constitutional duty to authorize and oversee military action.
We want Congress to take more responsibility for military engagement decisions and the American lives they put in harm’s way. To that end, with the help of our activists, we’re working to repeal outdated Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs) and advocating legislation that reforms war powers.
The VA MISSION Act is law, so it’s time the VA fully follows it
CVA has been fighting this fight for nearly 10 years. While we’ve seen successes such as the signing of the VA MISSION Act and more health care options for veterans, there is a long road ahead to ensure vets are getting the care they need.
Like last year, we’re focused on two specific areas of VA reform: improving access and quality of care and modernizing VA services.
It should be a no-brainer that veterans need access to care on their own schedule, but too often they are met with roadblocks from the VA’s complicated and bureaucratic system.
What vets need is a VA that puts the needs of the patient before the needs of the bureaucracy.
The easiest way to accomplish that is for the VA to follow the letter and intent of the VA MISSION Act and standards for accessing timely care, either inside or outside the VA.
More choice over health care is about allowing veterans to make the right choices for themselves. But we don’t want it to stop there. We want to see the VA have this same focus in all areas, including health care, benefits, rehabilitation, disability, and transition to civilian life.
We should be empowering veterans to live full, successful, independent lives, not locking them into an antiquated, broken system of red tape. We’ll support efforts to modernize the VA and its programs in pursuit of that goal.
A starting point for attacking overspending
The amount our government spends grows year after year, right alongside the national debt. Overspending isn’t just bad for the economy, it’s dangerous to our national security.
This year, we’ll continue to bring attention to destructive spending habits and the areas we see for improvement — ineffective programs and empty or underused facilities still being maintained at the VA, and endless wars that aren’t keeping us safe. Each drain away resources from areas where they are really needed, such as fully functioning facilities and military readiness to defense our most important national interests.
There are better solutions for the VA and Pentagon than throwing money down the drain, and we’re determined to find those answers.
We have a lot of work to do this year, and it won’t be easy. But we know that our grassroots army is prepared for these battles.
We can’t wait to see what we accomplish together this year!
For more on what we’re working on this year, take a look at the full policy agenda.