Your GSW Government Relations Committee met April 19th. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to contact your GRC Region Liaison. Not sure who it is? The names are listed at the bottom of this report.
Lars Report: The DIC increase is still our top priority, so our main objective is the passage of the Caring for Survivors Act of 2021 S. 976 and HR. 3402. These bills are non-partisan and continuing to gain traction. However, the toxic exposure issues, such as The Honor Our Pact Act, are still getting the most attention. We will be in a good position to re-introduce these bills next session and can build on our momentum.
TAPS has the lead on having a comprehensive Remarriage Bill. We have been told to expect one around Memorial Day. It will be presented to the TMC for review and support.
Lars continues to reach out to staffers on both the House and Senate side. Some are meeting in person and some are still conducting business virtually.
TAPS has sponsored The Gold Star Families Day Act, which would establish a Federal holiday on the last Monday of September. While many organizations have signed on to the letter of support for the holiday, there are also many organizations which oppose the wording of the actual bill as they do not want the designation of “Gold Star Families” to be changed to include family members of service-connected deaths and active-duty deaths that are not combat. While we are in support of the holiday, we may not want to take a position on the bill.
Juneteenth has just been passed as the newest Federal Holiday, so most likely Gold Star Families Day will not be passed. It appears that a new Federal Holiday has a price tag of about $880 million over a 10 year period. We would rather have money spent on the increase in DIC.
GRC Report: If you discussed upcoming legislative goals for GSW at your Region Conferences, your GRC representative will bring those ideas to the GRC.
Memorial Day: We are starting to get information filtering in, but most of the information is still pending. Arlington Cemetery will be allowing anyone to place flowers at the Tomb on Saturday May 28th, the same as they did for Veterans Day. We will be placing wreaths at The Vietnam Wall, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and at WIMSA. The renovated Korean Memorial/Wall will have a dedication in July, and we will place a wreath at the dedication ceremony in July. The renovations to WIMSA are expected to be completed by Memorial Day.
Donna Eldridge, Chair; Lars Anderson, DC Advocate.
Members: NW Nancy Menagh, NC Crystal Wenum, SW Jeanette Early, Misty Brammer and Claire Manning-Dick, SC Cyndie Gibson, SE Judy Woodall, NE Pam Connors, MW Madie Tillman, MA Deb Skeldon and Lupe McGuire.