This morning, AMVETS National Legislative Directory Ray Kelley laid out AMVETS legislative agenda for 2010 during the House Veterans Affairs Committee roundtable with 40 of the nation's top veterans' organizations.
During his brief testimony, Kelley explained that AMVETS will work with leaders in Congress and other top VSOs to overhaul the VA claims process, bring equity to the current chapters of the G.I. Bill, implement comprehensive reintegration programs for today's returning veterans, improve services to rural and remote-located veterans, and provide improved health care services to meet the unique needs of female veterans.
To download a copy of the AMVETS 2010 legislative agenda, Click Here.
Thirty-three of the 40 assembled organizations outlined remedying the VA claims backlog as their top priority, citing long wait times, antiquated processes and inequities in reviews as primary causes.
During the question and answer portion of the roundtable, Kelley explained that 22 percent of claims caught up in the backlog of nearly one million claims and appeals are the result of inaccurate or incomplete paperwork, pointing to a need for improved accuracy in claims-filing, rather than focusing simply on speed.
Other central topics of discussion included updating the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to include members of the National Guard activated under Title 32 orders, inequities in survivor's benefits, VA procurement issues, and veterans' unemployment.
Committee Ranking Member Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) asked each VSO to consider ways to improve mechanics of implementation once Congress passes legislation.
Congressman Tim Walz (D-Minn.) also took the opportunity to discuss his legislation that would extend veterans' status to National Guard and Reserve retirees who did not serve the requisite time overseas during their military careers.
(Photos: Top: Forty of the nation's top veterans' organizations joined the House Committee on Veterans Affairs round table on veterans' issues this morning in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill. Bottom: AMVETS National Legislative Director Ray Kelley outlines AMVETS' legislative agenda at this morning's roundtable. Photos by Ryan Gallucci.)