Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Few Updates on Veterans Legislation

Last July I wrote on HR 2874, which included provisions sponsored by Pennsylvania's Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-08) concerning homeless veterans. HR 2874 passed the House and is currently in the Senate, to be more precise it has been referred to the Committee on Veterans Affairs. In an AP article, "Study: Veterans make up 1 of 4 homeless," posted today on Yahoo, Kimberly Helfing writes:

Some advocates say the early presence of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan at shelters does not bode well for the future. It took roughly a decade for the lives of Vietnam veterans to unravel to the point that they started showing up among the homeless. Advocates worry that intense and repeated deployments leave newer veterans particularly vulnerable.

"We're going to be having a tsunami of them eventually because the mental health toll from this war is enormous," said Daniel Tooth, director of veterans affairs for Lancaster County, Pa.

While services to homeless veterans have improved in the past 20 years, advocates say more financial resources still are needed. With the spotlight on the plight of Iraq veterans, they hope more will be done to prevent homelessness and provide affordable housing to the younger veterans while there's a window of opportunity.

Sen. Specter is fond of telling the story of his father, a World War I veteran, going to Washington to protest unfilled promises to former soldiers. Perhaps he can persuade some of his senatorial colleagues to treat this wars veterans better.

In related veterans legislation (from yesterday's inbox, links mine):

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution introduced by Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) that supports a 3.5% pay increase for the pay of the U.S. Armed Forces. Rep. Murphy is a former U.S. Army Captain and Iraq war veteran and his resolution – H.Con. Res. 162 – has 63 bipartisan co-sponsors from across the country. Earlier today, in a speech on the floor of the House, Rep. Murphy called on President Bush to drop his opposition to this pay increase. Murphy cited the pay gap between civilian life and military life, the fact that our military is severely overstretched and the responsibility Congress and the president have to do right by American troops. Despite both House and Senate authorization for this 3.5% pay increase, President Bush has called it “unnecessary.” President Bush threatened to veto the Defense Authorization bill, singling out the 3.5% pay raise as one of his objections. Murphy’s resolution expresses the sense of the House that that Congress and the president should raise basic pay for all components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard by 3.5%. Murphy’s resolution passed the House with unanimous bipartisan support 409 to 0.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it's time to start talking about giving $20,000 bonuses to those who have served. The V.A is backlogged and broken and while we wait for something to be done, vets are slipping through the cracks and ending up hopeless and homeless. Not to mention that over 400 vets of the "war on terror" have ended their own lives after coming home.

If we can give a $20,000 bonus for troops to join, then we can certainly give that to those who have already served. Their housing should be paid for when they come home.

By the way, i saw a great documentary called WHEN I CAME HOME - it's about iraq war vets who end up homeless after returning to New York city. Check out the one minute trailer at:

We have to do more to support the vets.