NewsBytes August 20, 2021     

In this issue:
Military Ordered to be Vaccinated 
Debt Limit Returns
Afghan Veterans Should Be Proud of Their Service

Military Ordered to be Vaccinated by September 15
As a follow-up to Aug. 6, 2021, NewsBytes story, the Department of Defense (DoD) is requiring service members to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. In a memo from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, all U.S. military service members will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 15, 2021. 

“The intervening few weeks will be spent preparing for transition,” the memo reads. “I have every confidence that Service leadership and your commanders will implement this new vaccination program with professionalism, skill, and compassion.” Both the Coast Guard and the National Guard are planning to follow the DoD in requiring service members to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

Debt Limit Returns
Effective Aug. 1, 2021, the two-year suspension of the U.S. government debt limit ended. The Treasury Department will go to “extraordinary measures” to pay the government’s expenses while lawmakers decide how to address the cap. The debt limit restricts how much the federal government can borrow to finance its existing obligations. It was suspended at $22 trillion under the 2019 Bipartisan Budget Act (P.L.116-37), which also included a deal on spending caps. Once it’s restored, the debt limit will be set at a level that reflects additional borrowing — about $6.5 trillion — during the two-year pause, a large portion of which was due to Covid-19 relief packages. 

The Treasury Department can take steps to alter the government’s cash flow and stay below the ceiling, but not for long. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned of default risks soon after lawmakers return from their August recess, and the Congressional Budget Office said the department’s cash could be exhausted later this fall.

Afghan Veterans Should Be Proud of Their Service
The recent news from Afghanistan has many in the veteran’s community feeling isolated, confused, and left wondering if their sacrifice and the sacrifices of those who served alongside them were worth it. As with the Vietnam veterans, those that served in Afghanistan are having to come to terms with the fact that the U.S. military pull out is leaving Afghanistan with the job undone. 

If you’re a veteran in crisis or concerned about one, there are caring, qualified VA responders standing by to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the VA Veterans Crisis Line. A list of resources for veterans provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs include:

• Veterans Crisis Line: If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255, then PRESS 1 or go online. For emergency mental health care, you can also go directly to your local VA medical center. 24/7 regardless of your discharge status or enrollment in other VA health care.
• Vet Centers: Discuss how you feel with other Veterans in these community-based counseling centers. 70% of Vet Center staff are Veterans. Call 1-877-927-8387 or find one  near you.
• VA Mental Health Services Guide: This guide will help you sign up and access mental health services. 
• information, resources, and Veteran to Veteran videos for challenging life events and experiences with mental health issues. 
• RallyPoint: Talk to other Veterans online. Discuss: What are your feelings as the Taliban reclaim Afghanistan after 20 years of US involvement? 
• Download VA’s self-help apps: ( Tools to help deal with common reactions like, stress, sadness, and anxiety. You can also track your symptoms over time.
• VA Women Veterans Call Center: Call or text 1-855-829-6636 (M-F 8AM - 10PM & SAT 8AM - 6:30PM ET) 
• VA Caregiver Support Line: Call 1-855-260-3274 (M-F 8AM - 10PM & SAT 8AM - 5PM ET) 
• Together We Served: Find your battle buddies through unit pages.
• George W. Bush Institute: Need help or want to talk? Check in, call: 1-630-522-4904 or email:
• Elizabeth Dole Foundation Hidden Heroes: Join the Community.

Nearly 800,000 U.S. troops served in Afghanistan. Some Afghan veterans are having mixed emotions about the pullout. But some of those emotions should include pride that they stepped forward to defend our Nation when it was attacked.  

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