August 11 2017

SecNav and Others Confirmed by Senate
House Passes Veterans Bills
VA May Expand Ailments Associated with Agent Orange Herbicide
Newsbytes Schedule

 

SecNav and Others Confirmed by Senate

Eight Department of Defense nominees were confirmed by a voice vote in the Senate, which increased the Pentagon staffing. The prolonged Senate process reached an agreement between both parties, confirming Richard Spencer as the new Secretary of the Navy, Ellen Lord as the new undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Lucian Niemeyer and Robert Hood, both as assistant secretaries of defense. The confirmations double the number of nominees for the Pentagon confirmed by the Senate. There were only seven other defense officials who went through the same process since January.  

House Passes Veterans Bills

The House recently approved several legislative proposals pertaining to veterans. 

The proposed bills include:

• The "Global War on Terrorism Memorial Act" (H.R.873) that authorizes the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation to establish memorial on GWOT,

• The "Military Residency Choice Act" (H.R.282) that allow a military spouse to elect to use same residency as service member for purposes of taxation and voting,

• the "Veterans' Access to Child Care Act" (H.R.95), which would make a pilot program for child care at VA facilities a permanent program for veterans receiving care on a regular basis,

• The "VA Procurement Efficiency and Transparency Act" (H.R.2006) that increases transparency in VA procurement and  

• The "VA Bonus Transparency Act" (H.R.1690) which requires VA to submit annual report on paying bonuses.

The bills have moved to the Senate for further consideration. 

VA May Expand Ailments Associated with Agent Orange Herbicide

The Institute of Medicine's (IOM) 10th and final review of medical literature on health effects of herbicide exposure in Vietnam was issued March 2016. The report supports the connection between herbicide exposure and bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinson-like symptoms. Specifically, IOM found "limited or suggestive" evidence of an association to herbicide versus its previous finding of "inadequate or insufficient" evidence. In response to the report, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has said it will make a decision about possible expansion no later than November 1, 2017. Currently the VA has 14 "presumptive diseases" linked to herbicide exposure. Adding the three ailments would increase the number of Vietnam War veterans eligible for disability compensation and health care.

Newsbytes Schedule

The House and Senate are on their August recess and will not return to Capitol Hill until Tuesday, September 5, 2017. Due to this break, the next issue of Newsbytes will be September 8, 2017. 

           

 

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