Detachment of New Jersey

Legislative

Patrick Gallagher

Updated August 15, 2021

LEGISLATIVE DIVISION

UPDATE


Week Ending August 6, 2021


Congress

With the House already out on recess, all eyes were on the Senate this week as they worked through

the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) has declared Senators will

have to delay their recess until this bill is completed. Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) is

holding out to consider as many amendments as possible. Schumer also intends to force action on

a budget resolution, with reconciliation instructions, before the Senate leaves for its August recess.

With so much work on the plate, the Majority Leader kept the Senate in for a rare all-weekend

session last week, and could very well do it again this week.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Thursday released its score of the bill, despite the fact

lawmakers had been debating and amending it all week. The CBO determined the bill would add

$256 billion to project deficits over the course of ten years, despite a $50 billion increase in

revenues during that period.

In the meantime, the country has reached its debt limit and technically cannot borrow any more

money (the federal government operates on deficit spending). Speaking on the floor Thursday

afternoon, McConnell said Democrats should include provisions for raising the debt ceiling in the

budget resolution and make it happen by themselves, without Republican support, through

reconciliation.

However, Democrats are favoring an approach whereby the debt limit increase would be included

in a continuing resolution in September, which will be needed to keep the government open beyond

the October 1 start of the fiscal year. Doing this would put GOP lawmakers in the position of

letting the federal government shut down rather than increasing the debt limit. This is rapidly

shaping up to be a political game of chicken, with potentially terrible results should no one cave.

Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF)

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday voted out a Legion- supported resolution

to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs. Both measures have been deemed by the Department of

Defense (DoD) to be unnecessary for ongoing military operations against terror and extremism.

Congress passed the 1991 AUMF in response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, and led to

the Gulf War, which, of course, has now ended. The 2002 AUMF allowed the military to enter

Iraq to overthrow Hussein. During a hearing on the resolution on Tuesday, the State Department


argued that this AUMF actually hampers efforts to build permanent relationships with the new

government in Iraq.

Resolution cosponsors Sen. Young (R-IN) and Sen. Kaine (D-VA) argued that leaving outdated

AUMFs on the books cedes Congress’ Constitutionally mandated role of approving wars requested

by the Executive Branch. There is broad bipartisan support for the measure in the full Senate.

The House repealed both AUMFs in June on broadly bipartisan votes. The White House has

indicated they, too, support the move.

Grassroots

The National Legislative Division (NLD) uses VoterVoice as its advocacy platform for connecting

American Legion members with members of Congress. There are currently 26,723 members and

supporters signed up to receive action alerts. The American Legion’s VoterVoice page is available

here.

Legislative AARs

• National Legislative Division staff continues working on preparations for the upcoming

102nd National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.

• On Monday, August 2, NLD staff met with Sen. Lee’s (R-UT) veterans policy advisor to

discuss alternative treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain

injuries.

• On Monday, August 2, NLD staff met with DAV, WWP, and Student Veterans of America


to discuss the Department of Education rulemaking that is expected to begin in mid-

August. It is anticipated to begin in four areas that have American Legion resolutions and


will require veterans to serve as negotiators: Borrower Defense, Gainful Employment,

Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and the 9-10 rule.

• On Tuesday, August 3, NLD staff met with the office of Senator Lankford to discuss a bill

that would re-organize the chaplain service within VA and establish a Chief Chaplain

position that reports directly to the VA Secretary. Currently, the Chaplain service reports

to the Veterans Health Administration.

• On Tuesday, August 3, NLD staff attended a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing

on Authorizations of Use of Military Force (AUMFs): Administration Perspectives.

Lawmakers and experts debated the implications of repealing the 1991 and 2002 Iraq

AUMFs.

• On Tuesday, August 3, NLD staff met with the Executive Director of Military and Veterans

Programs of Cybercrime Support Network to discuss predatory practices against veterans

and the partnership with non-profits to fight cybercrime and protect veterans.

• On Tuesday, August 3, NLD staff met with Chairman Takano’s (D-CA and Chairman of

House Veterans Affairs Committee) veterans policy advisor to discuss Rep. Takano’s

Veteran Deportation Prevention & Reform Act.

• On Tuesday, August 3, NLD staff met with the four corners of the House and Senate

Veterans Affairs Committee to discuss upcoming economic opportunity hearing schedules.


The Senate has delayed their August 4th hearing on veterans employment indefinitely, with

an anticipated reschedule of late September. The House Veterans Affairs Committee

shared their plans for an economic legislative hearing in mid-September.

• On Thursday, August 5, NLD staff was interviewed by a radio show host and ESPN

affiliate in the Richmond, VA area on The American Legion’s efforts on behalf of Afghan

translators.

• On Wednesday, August 4, NLD staff attended a Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Business Meeting. The committee voted 14-8 to repeal the 1991 and 2002 Iraq AUMFs.

Legion story is here.

• On Wednesday, August 4, NLD Staff attended SVAC full committee web event marking

100 years since the creation of and first interment in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in

Arlington National Cemetery.

• On Wednesday, August 4, NLD staff met with Rep. Porter’s (D-CA) veterans policy

advisor to discuss the Congresswoman’s report on predatory practices in the VA Home

Loan program.

• On Wednesday, August 4, NLD staff met with Sen. Cassidy’s (R-LA) veterans policy

advisor to discuss legislative priorities.

• On Wednesday, August 4, NLD staff participated in a War Powers Reform briefing hosted

by the National Security Division.

• On Thursday, August 5, NLD staff met with Sen. Blumenthal’s (D-CT) veterans policy

advisor to discuss legislative priorities.

• On Thursday, August 5, NLD staff met with Rep. Tlaib’s (D-MI) to discuss “Buddy Check

Week" for the purpose of outreach and education concerning peer wellness checks for

veterans.

• On Thursday, August 5, NLD staff met with Sen. Hoeven’s (R-ND) veterans policy advisor

to discuss legislative priorities.

• On Thursday, August 5, NLD staff met with Rep. Valadao’s (R-CA) veterans policy

advisor to discuss the deportation of non-citizen veterans.

• On Thursday, August 5, NLD staff met with the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee

Deputy Staff Director to discuss veterans economic priorities. NLD staff shared House

developments for GI Bill National Guard parity, and received a commitment that the Senate

would reciprocate with their language.

• On Friday, August 5, NLD staff met with the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee minority

staff to discuss VA commentary on toxic exposure legislation.

• On Friday, August 5, NLD staff met with Marine for Life (M4L) and the Department of

Defense Voluntary Education office to discuss NDAA education priorities. NLD staff

shared their concern over the termination of the Troops to Teachers program along with

the lack of mandatory funding for branch tuition assistance programs.

• On Friday, August 5, NLD staff met with the National Legal Services Veteran Program to

discuss H.R. 4625, to clarify and improve the program of comprehensive assistance for

family caregivers of the Department of Veterans Affairs

Lawrence Montreuil, Legislative Director

The American Legion the v.e.e committee

TOPIC 3a: TRACKING LEGISLATION

GI Bill Repair Act of 2020: To extend to black veterans of World War II, their surviving spouses,

and direct descendants eligibility for specific housing and educational assistance programs

administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs

(Tracked by John Kamin)

Resolution No.: None on file

Status: Currently on hold, has not been introduced

Homeless Veteran Coronavirus Response Act: The bill allows V.A. to use existing funds for a

broader range of services; authorizes the Department to collaborate with outside organizations to

facilitate shelters on its properties; loosens restrictions on Grant and Per Diem (GPD) payments,

and requires V.A. to ensure veterans participating in V.A. homeless programs have access to V.A.

telehealth services.

(Tracked by Ariel De Jesus)

Resolution No. 326: Support Funding for Additional Housing for Homeless Veterans with

Families

HR 6800, the Heroes Act: Allows VA to provide transport and purchase food, shelter, phones,

clothing, blankets, and toiletry items for homeless veterans; Authorizes VA to set up temporary

encampments on the grounds of V.A. Medical Centers to allow homeless veterans to shelter on

V.A. parking lots temporarily; Allows VA to provide reimbursements to social service providers

receiving grants for the costs of services for minor children.

(Tracked by Ariel De Jesus)

Resolution No. 324: Support Funding for Homeless Veterans

HR 1615: The American Legion supports legislation that would streamline and improve the

verification process for veteran-owned small businesses and veteran-owned small businesses.

(Tracked by Joe Sharpe)

Resolution No. 155: Support Verification Improvements for Veterans' Business

Status: Passed at the 2016 National Convention.

HR 2224: To direct the Secretary of Labor to prioritize services to homeless veterans with

dependent children in carrying out homeless veterans' reintegration programs and for other

purposes.

(Tracked by John Kamin)

Resolution No. 326: Support Funding for Additional Housing for Homeless Veterans with

Families

HR 1196, Jobs for Veterans Act of 2019: This bill allows an increased work opportunity tax credit

for employers who hire veterans who have been certified as discharged or released from active duty

in the Armed Forces after September 11, 2001, and who begin working for the employer after

December 31, 2019, and before January 1, 2024. This increased credit is in addition to any work

opportunity tax credit allowed to a veteran with a service-connected disability.

(Tracked by John Kamin)


Resolution No. 354: Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program

HR 7010, Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020: This bill significantly changes

the PPP loans' terms to be more advantageous to small businesses. Including more flexibility in

applying the loan to other expenses besides payroll and benefits and extending the time frame for

expending the loan.

(Tracked by Joe Sharpe)

HR 4625: To require education programs to be approved by the V.A. to abide by the Principles of

Excellence to include a ban on deceptive or misleading recruiting, clear information about total

costs and program requirements, accommodation for deployments, ensuring a point of contact for

veterans, and not being under a punitive action by an accreditor.

(Tracked by John Kamin)

Resolution No. 318: Ensuring the Quality of Servicemember and Veteran Student's Education at

Institutions of Higher Education

HR 6957: To direct the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs to treat a period of full-time

National Guard duty, performed in response to the national emergency declared on March 13, 2020,

by the President concerning COVID-19, as not shorter than 90 days.

(Tracked by John Kamin)

Resolution No.: Currently studying for appropriate resolution.

HR 4920 Department of Veterans Affairs Contracting Preference Consistency Act of 2020: is

a bill that would allow AbilityOne companies to keep their preferential treatment at the Department

of Veteran Affairs after 2016 with some compromises. The Senate initially sent it back to the House

after it was passed for changes. Those changes have been reconciled, and the bill cleared its last

hurdle before it is sent to the White House.

S. 2594: To amend title 5, United States Code, to modify specific requirements concerning service

and retirement for veterans’ Preference for federal hiring.

(Tracked by Ariel De Jesus)

Resolution No. 317: Enforcing Veterans' Preference Hiring Practices in Federal Civil Service

S. 3745, Coronavirus Emergency Borrower Defense (E-BD) Act: to require the Department of

Education to grant full student loan discharges to three specific emergency categories of defrauded

borrowers—specifically borrowers covered by:

(1) Department of Education findings against Corinthian.

(2) Department of Education findings against ITT Tech; and

(3) State attorneys general group discharge applications made before the date of

enactment.

(Tracked by John Kamin)

Resolution No. 82: Preserve Veteran and Servicemember Rights to Gainful Employment and

Borrower Defense Protections


TOPIC 3b: ACTION TAKEN ON LEGISLATION

Building Credit Access for Veterans Act: A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to

carry out a pilot program to establish an automated process for obtaining alternative credit rating

information and other purposes.

(Tracked by Ariel)


Status: Draft Bill / Letter of Support submitted on October 13

HR 8426: Protecting Apprenticeship Training for Veterans Act: Currently, veterans must meet a

minimum number of apprenticeship hours to receive their Housing Allowance. Due to pandemic

work shortages, veterans in those programs now face a reduction or suspension in their stipend.

This would allow veteran apprentices who were laid off to roll over excess hours from a previous

month to meet the hourly requirement.

(Tracked by John Kamin)

Resolution: Resolution No. 25: Support and Expand Apprenticeship Opportunities for

Servicemembers

Status: Letter of Support drafted

HR 4941: Veteran Employment Transition Act” or the “VET Act” was sponsored by

Representative Andy Kim. The bill's last action was in the House on 12/02/2019; it was referred to

the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. The bill's goal is to improve the Transition Assistance

Program. The bill would allow certain veterans' service organizations to contact veterans regarding

benefits and better inform veterans of employment opportunities. The Service groups would inform

veterans of the benefits and employment opportunities with the Federal, State, and local

governments. The groups inform veterans of events in the area.

(Tracked by Ariel De Jesus)

Resolution No. 70: Improve Transition Assistance Program

Status: Letter of Support submitted

HR 7003: is a bill sponsored by Rep. Takano, Mark D-CA-41, and was introduced 05/22/2020.

The bill would authorize a pilot program in the Department of Defense to enhance efforts to provide

job placement assistance and related employment services directly to the National Guard, Reserves,

and veterans of the Armed Forces. The last action on the bill was 05/22/2020 and referred to the

Committee on Armed Services.

(Tracked by Ariel De Jesus)

Resolution No. 81: Transition Assistance Program Employment Workshops for National Guard

and Reserve Members

Status: Pending Letter of Support

Draft Bill: Veterans Educational Assistance Transparency and Accountability Improvement Act,

improve the G.I. Bill Comparison Tool ensures veterans, servicemembers, and their families are

better informed when choosing what educational institution is best for them.

Resolution No. 327: Support Further Assessment and Evaluation of Institutions of Higher

Learning to Enable Veterans to Make Informed Education Choices

Status: Letter of Support submitted

Draft Bill: JSF - To amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify the scope of procedural rights

of members of the uniformed services concerning their employment and reemployment rights, and

for other purposes.

(Tracked by Ariel De Jesus)

Status: We submitted written testimony for the July 23, 2020 hearing.

Draft Bill: USERRA Protections for State Active Duty - To amend title 38, United States Code,

extend particular employment and reemployment rights to members of the National Guard who

perform State active duty. Submitted written testimony to the Legislative Division.

(Tracked by Ariel De Jesus)

Resolution No. 315: Support Employment and Reemployment Rights of National Guard and

Reservists Returning from Deployment


Status: We submitted written testimony for the July 23, 2020 hearing.

HR 7111: Veterans Economic Recovery Act of 2020: Require the Secretary of V.A. to carry out

a rapid retraining program that provides eligible veterans up to 12 months of retraining assistance

for in-demand occupations. These 12 months of benefits would be equivalent to students' and

schools' payments through the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

(Tracked by John Kamin)

Resolution No. 316: Support Employment of Veterans in the Public and Private Workforce

Status: This bill was submitted for the July 23, 2020 testimony.

HR 7445: To expand eligibility for home loans from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to individual

members of the Armed Forces reserve components.

Resolution No. 329: Support Home Loan Guaranty Program

Status: This bill was submitted for the July 23, 2020 testimony.



SAL National Legislative Commission

SAL Legislative Commission Conference Call

Conference Call

Thursday February 4, 2021 7PM EDT

Call In # 712-775-7031 Access 988 284 103#

Agenda

Welcome & Roll Call

Commission Members: Chairman Tom Deal

Vice Chairman Mike Monserud (IA)

Bernie Kessler (OH)

Bill Kelley (FL)

David Lee (NY)

Richard Humphrey (CO)

Asst Adjutant – David Ridenhour

Opening Statement by Chairman

Discussion of Corona Virus and keeping everyone safe.

Old Business

Resolutions: We are refining the two resolutions that were submitted from Legislative

Commission for National Chaplain and Legislative Commission.

The George B. Evans Veterans Advocate of the Year Award needs more visibility.

Powerpoint Slide update.

New Business:

Washington Conference 2021 is virtual this year.

No Wreath Laying Ceremony.

Commission members to speak

NVC Conference Call assignments:

East: David Lee

South: Bill Kelly

Central: Mike Monserud

Midwest: Bernie Kessler

West: Richard Humphrey


Legislative Conference Calls: The Legislative Commission will continue bi-

monthly calls on the first Thursday of the month in then following dates: April,

June and August. Calls will be at 7:00 pm eastern time.

We had Bi-monthly conference calls are now on 1 st Thursday of the month on the

even months.

Question & Answer Session

Next Conference Call - April 1, 2021 at 7 pm eastern time.




Next S.A.L National Legislative Commission call will be 02/03/2021 at 7pm. the number is 712-775-7031 code 988284103