Your GSW Government Relations Committee met September 21st. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to contact your GRC Region Liaison. Not sure who it is? Check the tab on the website that lists the GRC Committee, underneath the tab that reads “Legislation”.
At Convention we voted to accept our GRC goals, which can be found on the tab that reads “Legislation”. Of course, our biggest goal is the increase in DIC. You will be able to find the fact sheet and sample letters on the website by clicking on the tab that reads “Fact Sheets and White Pages”.
On the front page of our website, you may click on how to contact your Senators and Representatives to find out where to send your letter or email. You will want to use the template and add a little about you and your story. Make it personal!
Your DC Advocate, Lars Anderson, is continuing to work with Senator Testor’s staff regarding Bill S. 976 the Caring for Survivors Act of 2021 and with Representative Hayes regarding the companion Bill HR . 3402. While the offices are still closed to the public, Lars continues to reach out by phone and email to staffers to encourage more co-sponsors.
Currently in the Senate the co-sponsors are Senators Boozman, AR, Collins, ME, Coons, DE, Bloomenthal, CT, Peters, MI, and Bennet, CO. Currently in the House, the co-sponsors are Representatives Frankel, FL, Grijalva, AZ, Carson, IN, Norton, DC, Maloney, NY, Cohen, TN, Lowenthal, CA, Lawson, FL, Newman, IL, and Jackson Lee, TX.
If you don’t see your Senator or Representative on this list, please take the time to reach out today.
As you may know, GSW, is a long standing member of (TMC) The Military Coalition. Donna Eldridge has recently been elected to serve as Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, which is an honor for GSW to be recognized as part of the leadership of TMC.
Lars reports: While things are still slow to return to normal on the Hill, there is still much going on. Currently, the big push is for the Infrastructure Bill, and there is now a Toxic Exposure Omnibus Bills in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. These Omnibus Bills combine the many bills regarding toxic exposure into one. These bills need to pass the House and Senate; then they will work out compromises for the bills which may differ in the House and Senate versions. GSW has been working with the Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) Coalition of over 30 organizations to get passage of this important legislation.
Of course, our main objective is the passage of the Caring for Survivors Act of 2021, which will give us a long overdue increase in the DIC. We need your help to reach out to your Senators and Representatives to gain more co-sponsors. Currently this is a bi-partisan bill in the Senate, but in the House, it has only been Democrats who have signed on. One of our members, Sharri Briley, met with Senator Boozman’s staff and provided her personal story and testimony, which was used in the introduction of the bill. Please meet with YOUR Senator and Representative and tell YOUR story.
We are also looking at bills aimed at allowing surviving spouses who have remarried to retain part or all of their benefits. More to come on that!
If you have questions or comments, please let us know.