American Legion pitches legislative priorities to Congress

Washington

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) -It’s an important day on Capitol Hill for American veterans.  It’s their chance to pitch the most critical veterans’ issues to lawmakers from the House and Senate.  Jessi Turnure reports on the American Legion’s “to do list” for lawmakers.

There are a lot of different items on that list… but the one at the top… veteran suicide.

The American Legion also told lawmakers it would help them to allow more veterans to be eligible for Agent Orange benefits.

“No veteran should die by his own hands. That’s an atrocity.”

The veteran suicide epidemic is one of the American Legion’s biggest battles.

National Commander Bill Oxford says he believes the VA offers the best mental health resources to veterans to fight it.

“We need to make sure every veteran realizes that help is out there. Let us help you.” clapping

Tennessee Congressman Phil Roe— a veteran himself— credits the American Legion’s work with Congress for improving VA healthcare.

“Veterans today have greater access, greater control of their care than ever before.”

<Jessi Turnure/Washington Correspondent>

But the VA reports… of the 20 veteran suicides each day… most did not seek help from the VA.

“I’ve run across veterans who won’t go to the VA. So we’ve got to reach out to them. I think you guys, ladies, and gentlemen, are critical to doing that.”

A bipartisan bill making its way through Congress would expand suicide prevention and emergency care to nonprofits and community programs outside the VA…

Arkansas Senator John Boozman says it would also make sure the money is going to the right place.

“We need the ability to actually measure what these programs are doing. Get rid of the ones that aren’t working and then increase the others.”

The legislation is not only a top priority for Congress but also the American Legion…

giving it a fighting chance of soon making it to President Trump’s desk.

Full American Legion report: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/VR/VR00/20200311/110541/HHRG-116-VR00-Wstate-OxfordJ-20200311.pdf

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