MILITARY ORDER OF THE PURPLE HEART LOUISIANA

Department Commander's Remarks

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January 26, 2009
 
Secretary of Department of Veterans Affairs to "Make the Department of Veterans Affairs a 21st century organization"

Retired Army General Eric K. Shinseki took the oath of office January 21 at the White House as the Nation’s seventh Secretary of Veterans Affairs, assuming leadership of the Department of Veterans Affairs following his confirmation by the Senate the day before. "The overriding challenge I am
addressing from my first day in office is to make the Department of Veterans Affairs a 21st century organization focused on the Nation's Veterans as its clients," Shinseki said.
Shinseki plans to develop a 2010 budget within his first 90 days reflecting the vision of President Obama to transform VA into an organization that is people-centric, results-driven and forward-looking. Key issues on Secretary Shinseki’s agenda include implementation of an enhanced GI Bill education
benefit that eligible veterans will begin using next fall, streamlining the disability claims system, leveraging information technology to accelerate and modernize services, and opening VA’s health care system to veterans
previously unable to enroll in it, while facilitating access for returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans.


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James Siscel, Jan 14, 2009
Tricare for Life not on Chopping Block

A viral e-mail campaign is unsettling military retirees over 65. Sourcing a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, these e-mails claim that TRICARE for Life is at risk. These distress warnings are overstated.
The report, on Budget Options, Volume 1: Health Care lists 115 options for reducing federal spending on health care, altering federal healthcare programs, and making substantive changes to the nation’s health insurance system. But these are not formal recommendations. The suggestion for TRICARE for Life is only Option 96 on the list. None are formal recommendations.
A total of six proposals of the 115 might affect military health care. Other options include increasing health care cost sharing for family members of military personnel on active duty (Option 95); increasing health care cost sharing for military retirees under age 65 (Option 97); and copayments and
changes to enrollment for medical care provided by the Veterans Affairs Hospitals for enrollees without a service-connected disability (Options 28, 29 and 98)
The CBO report is a periodic report made every two years. The last such report was published in February of 2007 when CBO provided 250 budget cutting options to Congress on altering federal spending and revenues, of which health care and Medicare changes were a part. What was unusual with
this year’s health care report was that it was published in a separate volume.
ROA would like to thank those members who brought this report to our attention. The Reserve Officers Association is concerned with legislation that might affect the military health readiness, and deny earned health benefits and will continue to track this issue. ROA leadership has been in discussions with other military and veteran associations and the consensus
is that currently there is no serious risk. At this point there are no fires needing to be put out.

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 VFW Washington Weekly
 January 23, 2009

        1. Senate Confirms Two Key Cabinet Members
        2. Committee Assignments Begin
        3. VFW Says Closing GITMO Not Prudent

        1. Senate Confirms Two Key Cabinet Members: The Senate signed off on
many of President Obama's cabinet members this week.  Among those confirmed were VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Shinseki has promised to begin work on several high priority items during his first days in office. Among them is the implementation of GI Bill benefits, streamlining disability claims, and modernizing the delivery of benefits, to include working with DOD on seamless transition for newly discharged veterans.

        2. Committee Assignments Begin: Congress began organizing committees and naming members for its 111th session.  The House VA Committee chairman and ranking member remains the same -- Bob Filner (D-CA) and Steve Buyer (R-IN), respectively.  Likewise, the Senate VA Committee retained Daniel Akaka (D-HI) as its chairman and Richard Burr (R-NC) as the ranking member. The Senate Armed Services Committee leadership stayed the same with Carl Levin (D-MI) as chairman and John McCain (R-AZ) as its ranking member.  The only change was in the House Armed Services Committee.  Ike Skelton (D-MO) is still chairman, but John McHugh (R-NY) takes over as ranking member after
the retirement of California's Duncan Hunter.  Subcommittee chairmanships for all of the committees including the Military/VA Appropriations have yet to be named.

        3. VFW Says Closing GITMO Not Prudent: VFW National Commander Glen Gardner said yesterday's presidential decision to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay is not a prudent course of action during a time of war because the facility is a valuable tool in the fight against terrorism that provides useful intelligence information and keeps our enemies off the battlefield.  President Obama's executive order will begin an immediate case-by-case review of 245 remaining detainees, and close the detention facility within a year. The decision is being applauded by human rights organizations and criticized by the families of 9/11 victims, who know that admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed is one of the detainees.  Gardner, who traveled to Guantanamo in November 2007 to witness a trial as an objective observer, wants the administration to thoroughly examine its real options, because the executive decision generates more
questions than answers.  Some of the questions concern how and where will remaining detainees be kept while awaiting trial, how to make convictions stick, and how to ensure those released do not return to the battlefield. To read the VFW press release, go to:
http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=4896

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December 5, 2008
Patriots,

The new PH License plate will have the bigger and bolder PH with the white stripe down each side.  DMV will notify us when the plate is ready for review--- they will send to us to critique---if the plate meets our approval, they will start production in 5 to 6 weeks.

In Patriotism,

Commander Richard Garner

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PATRIOTS,

BELOW ARE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS AND IMAGES OF THE HONOR MEDAL TO BE GIVEN TO ALL VETERANS OF LOUISIANA..
TUESDAY, NOV. 4TH IS THE DAY TO EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT AS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, PLEASE GET OUT AN VOTE.
HOPE TO SEE YOU AT THE MID-WINTER CONFERENCE, NOVEMBER 7TH AND 8TH 2008.

YIP,

COMMANDER RICHARD GARNER
 
 

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MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS
OCTOBER 31, 2008
 

 

 

 

Rep. John Bel Edwards, Chairman                 District 72 (Amite)

 

Rep. Jeff Arnold                                                    District 102 (New Orleans)

 

Rep. James Armes III                                           District 30 (Leesville)

 

Rep. Noble Ellington                                            District 20 (Winnsboro)

 

Rep. Jerry “Truck” Gisclair                                District 54 (Baton Rouge)

 

Rep. Elbert Guillory                                              District 40 (Opelousas)

 

Rep. Cameron Henry                                           District 82 (New Orleans)

 

Rep. Kay Katz                                                        District 16 (Monroe)

 

Rep. Nick Lorusso                                                District 94 (New Orleans)

 

Rep. Tom McVea                                                   District 62 (Jackson)

 

Rep. Nickie Monica                                               District 57 (LaPlace)

 

Rep. Cedric Richmond                                        District 101 (New Orleans)

 

Rep. John Schroder                                             District 77 (Covington)

 

Rep. Jane Smith                                                    District 8 (Bossier City)

 

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