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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Important Action: Contact Your Senators Today

The Senate is currently debating the National Defense Authorization Act of 2007, S. 2766, and we need to make our voices heard on two issues especially. Hat tip to Veterans for America for the following information and for setting up an easy online feedback form that allows you to quickly send your Senators a fax today. Learn more, and read the sample letter you can use to easily let your Senators know how you feel about these important issues.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

From a Veterans for America email alert:

Your messages to your Senators are making a big difference, but there may be only a few days left before the debate in the Senate is over. If we want these amendments to pass, we must act right away.

If you have not yet written your Senator, please do so today!

Our military and our veterans need your help today to fix some very serious problems.

Veterans for America (VFA) recently posted several disturbing news articles about veterans committing suicide and other serious mental health problems among soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Clearly, VA and the military are failing to respond to this growing crisis.

A phone call or faxed letter from you today sent to your U.S. Senator can help soldiers and veterans now, before the situation gets worse.

Here's how you can help right now. The U.S. Senate is debating next year's military budget. The bill is called the National Defense Authorization Act of 2007, S. 2766. During the debate, several pro-service member and pro-veteran amendments are expected to come up for separate votes. Read the statement by Bobby Muller, VFA director.

Veterans for America has learned while there are several pro-veteran amendments being considered during debate on the issue, there are two in particular that deserve our immediate attention and support:

  • First, there are growing concerns about service members redeployed from the U.S. back to Iraq for a second tour after being diagnosed with a serious mental health problem, and some have committed suicide. That is why we ask you to urge the Senate to adopt an amendment sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer and Joe Lieberman requiring a credentialed mental health professional to sign off before a service member diagnosed as having a duty-limiting (or serious) mental health condition can be ordered into a war zone.

  • Second, we are troubled by reports of veterans who are not aware of government benefits and services. That is why we urge you to ask the Senate to adopt an amendment sponsored by Senators Russ Feingold, Patty Murray, Barack Obama, Ted Kennedy and Jack Reed requiring the military to provide comprehensive Transition Assistance Program briefings about healthcare, employment, and other benefits so veterans don't miss out on benefits with time limits, such as healthcare and educational assistance.
Please contact your Senator today, by phone or by fax, and ask them to vote YES on all veteran-friendly amendments and in particular these two amendments. Using our fax system is simple and easy, and we've prepared a sample letter for you.

Thank you,

Charles Sheehan-Miles
Associate Director
Veterans for America

Here's a sample letter they've prepared to make it easy for you to communicate your wishes to the Senate. The form letter is only a guide, and you may customize it in any way you wish at the Veterans for America action page:

I stand with our Nation's service members veterans to make sure they receive the benefits they earned while in our military. During this week's debate over the National Defense Authorization Act of 2007, S. 2766, several pro-veteran amendments are expected to come up for a vote. These amendments are very important to all veterans, especially those fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan today.

Please vote YES on all pro-veteran amendments, and in particular these two:

1. You may have read the Hartford Courant series reporting how soldiers and Marines diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other serious mental health conditions were ordered back into combat even though they were found unfit to fight. Tragically, some committed suicide. Senators Barbara Boxer and Joe Lieberman will introduce an amendment that requires a credentialed mental health professional to sign off before a service member diagnosed as having a duty-limiting (or serious) mental health condition can be ordered into a war zone.

2. An amendment sponsored by Senators Russ Feingold, Patty Murray, Barack Obama, Ted Kennedy, and Jack Reed requires the military to provide briefings about healthcare, employment, and other benefits to all service members when they leave the military. This amendment is important so that new veterans don't miss out on benefits with time limits, such as healthcare and educational assistance.

Once again, I urge you to support our troops and our military by voting for the pro-military and pro-veteran amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2007.

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