Saturday, February 09, 2008

Support the Troops Legislative Priorities

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has come up with a few legislative priorities. It's time to decide whether "Support the Troops" is talk, or for real:

* A New GI Bill.
A modernized WWII-style GI bill that fully covers the cost of an education at any public school or equivalently-priced private school.

Benefits for Reserve/National Guard servicemembers should be based on the cumulative length of their deployments and not on their single longest deployment.
Tuition costs should be paid up front and directly to the college, allowing veterans access to education without forcing them to rely on loans.

* Ensure Thorough, Professional, and Confidential Mental Health Screening.
IAVA supports mandatory and confidential mental health and TBI screening by a mental health professional for all troops before and after a combat tour.

* Overhaul Military and Veterans’ Disability System.
DOD and VA disability systems must be streamlined to provide adequate compensation for the injuries suffered by today’s military personnel.

* Make VA Health Care Funding Sufficient and Mandatory.
Every year, veterans are forced to fight for funding for veterans’ health care, and the VA budget is regularly late. This irregular funding system means that it is difficult for veterans’ hospitals to plan ahead for hiring or hospital repairs. The only way to ensure timely funding of the VA is to make VA health care funding mandatory.

* Combat Shortage of Mental Health Professionals.

According to the Pentagon’s Task Force on Mental Health, the military’s “current complement of mental health professionals is woefully inadequate.” Immediate and innovative steps must be taken to recruit and retain military mental health professionals.

* Protect Servicemembers from Unfair Contracts.
Students who are deployed overseas should be reimbursed for tuition paid towards interrupted coursework. Returning students must be reinstated with the same academic status they earned before they were deployed. 6% interest cap in the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) should apply to student loans.


To these I add: stop Bush's crazy occupation of Iraq. Our troops have done all that can be done. Let the Iraqis solve their own problems.

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