Your GSW Government Relations Committee met October 19th. 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”.
Lars Report: Things are starting to happen on the Hill, and there is much going on. The Toxic Exposure Omnibus Bills in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives combine the many bills regarding toxic exposure into one. As you know 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. The Omnibus Bills are now awaiting the Congressional Budget Office “score” which is the cost of the bills. Once the scores are developed, the legislation will then be up for further discussions among lawmakers. There is still great interest in getting these bills passed this session of Congress.
Of course, our main objective is the passage of the Caring for Survivors Act of 2021 - S. 976 and HR. 3402, which will give us a long overdue increase in the DIC. The bill will be discussed at the House Legislative Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs hearing on October 20th. We were able to submit written testimony; and appreciate the input we received from members telling “what an increase will mean to you”. Telling your personal story is an important part of getting this bill passed. Of course, we still need your help to reach out to your Senators and Representatives to gain more co-sponsors. Please meet with YOUR Senator and Representative and tell YOUR story.
We have sample letters and a GSW fact sheet in the legislative area. The link to your Senators and Representatives is handy for you on the front page of our website.
There are a number of other bills which are being discussed at this House subcommittee on October 20, including two different bills that would allow “some” surviving spouses who have remarried to retain part or all of their benefits. Neither bill is inclusive of all surviving spouses, but we expect a more comprehensive bill to come soon.
GRC Report: We discussed how each of the Region GRC Liaison/representatives can better work with their Region President to get the information out to both Chapter members and Members at Large. Please reach out to your Liaison/representative with questions you may have; and let them know if you have met with your Senator or Representative.
Veterans Day: If you will be in the DC area on Veterans Day, please let Donna firstname.lastname@example.org know ASAP. There are a number of events for which we have tickets for GSW members. The Veterans Day Event sponsor this year is the Jewish War Veterans of the USA.
Veterans Day Events as we know as of October 19 (subject to change):
November 7th WIMSA is sponsoring an afternoon tea where you will learn the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This tea will include a private tour of the Tomb. The cost for this tea is $125 and you will need to go to the https://womensmemorial.org/ site to register.
November 9th -10th, the general public is invited to place a flower at the Tomb of the Unknown to celebrate the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown. You MUST have a government ID, and you MUST pre-register at www.arlingtoncemetery.mil
10:00 AM WWII Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony.
11:00 AM Ceremony at Amphitheater and laying of wreath at the Tomb. 40 different VSO’s will place a wreath. We will be represented by the GSW President, Tamra Sipes. We have a limited number of tickets.
1:00 PM Ceremony at The Wall. GSW members will be at the Wall to place our wreath.
3:00 PM Wreath laying at the Korean Memorial. We will be represented by the GSW Board Chair, Crystal Wenum.
3:00 PM Wreath laying at the Women in Military Service of America (WIMSA) Memorial.
If you have questions or comments, please let us know.