Congress Has Been Great To Service Members And Veterans In 2017

Between January 20 and August 12, 2017, 46 laws and resolutions have been passed by Congress. And a number of those directly affect our country’s servicemembers and veterans. This makes 2017 a great year for them.

President Trump has signed five laws this year. Here they are in order of their being either signed by or submitted to President Trump:

Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017

This law established March 29 of each year will now be recognized as National Vietnam War Veterans Day, a U.S. holiday. It might also be the shortest law ever  since it has only 115 words. 

• An Act to amend the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 to modify the termination date for the Veterans Choice Program, and for other purposes 

The bill is informally known as the Veteran’s Choice Act of 2017. Among other things, it allows 

Any veteran who lives 40 miles or more from the closest VA medical facility, or who faces a 30-day or more wait time, can seek out treatment from a private facility and the VA will handle the payment.

This bill gives senior officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs the power to fire failing employees.

Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act 

This law has been informally called the Forever GI Bill which modernizes and strengthens education benefits for servicemembers and veterans.

is awaiting President Trump’s signature. The bill reforms the rights and processes relating to appeals of decisions regarding claims for benefits under the laws administered by the Secretary of the VA.

This act

Addresses a budget shortfall at the Department of Veteran Affairs that threatened medical care for thousands of veterans, provides $2.1 billion to continue funding the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans to seek private care.

The Senate recently passed S.765: the Private Corrado Piccoli Purple Heart Preservation Act and is awaiting consideration by the House. The bill deals with the legal aspects service members and veterans and their Purple Heart medals.

The Senate has also passed a number of resolutions affecting servicemembers and veterans. A resolution is a measure used to express nonbinding positions to deal with the each body’s internal affairs and do not require any action by the House. And, as such, it is not a law.

This resolution approves the location of a memorial to commemorate and honor the members of the Armed Forces who served on active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm or Operation Desert Shield.

This resolution supports the goals and ideals of National Purple Heart Recognition Day. This particular day is August 7 since the forbearer of this medal, the Badge of Military Merit, was created on this day in 1782 by General George Washington.

So there you have it. Congress and President Trump have made inroads in 2017 thus far to address his campaign promises to take care of our military service members and veterans.

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Chuck Yarling has had many titles in his career thus far: veteran, engineer, math teacher, consultant, technical writer, book author and publisher, and triathlete. He was a member the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Bugles Across America, which plays Taps at military funerals and special events. Spec. 5 Chuck Yarling served with the 26th Combat Engineering Battalion in Vietnam as an awards clerk. His service with the U.S. Army resulted in being awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Army Commendation Medal. You may reach Chuck at [email protected]

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