Do you truly support our troops? Just slapping on a yellow ribbon is NOT supporting them. This former military family would much prefer you do this instead.
From Military Families Speak Out:
The Board of Directors of MFSO has just voted to endorse H.R. 3043, an appropriations bill currently before Congress, which would provide funding for critical services for our veterans, our troops and their families. We have joined with Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), Gold Star Families Speak Out (GSFSO), the National Coalition for the Homeless and other organizations representing thousands of veterans and soldiers, in signing a letter which was sent on Tuesday, November 6, to every member of Congress, urging passage of this bill.
Today, we are asking all MFSO members to individually contact their Congressional representatives and Senators to ask them to support this bill and to pledge to override a threatened presidential veto. In asking you to take this action, we do not intend in any way to let Congress off the hook for their continued funding of the Iraq war. The funding in this bill is a totally separate issue from war funding votes and our support for it demonstrates our commitment to our mission to "take care of them when they get home".
While most veteran-related programs are funded through the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services also provide vital services to help our veterans, especially for the two-thirds of recently returning veterans who have not enrolled in the federal veterans' health care program.
Specifically, H.R. 3043 would provide:
- $231 million for Veterans' Employment and Training programs to assist returning veterans to find and train for good paying jobs
- $23.6 million for the Homeless Veterans' Program. Currently 23% of America's homeless are military veterans.
- $10 million for those veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI), for their rehabilitation, hospital care and long-term support. Thousands of returning National Guard soldiers rely on community-based systems of care that are not funded by the VA.
- $3.4 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. With Army suicides recently reaching a 26 year high, our returning veterans suffering from PTSD and depression have an urgent need to rely on this funding.
This bill is currently being debated on the House floor. Bush has said he will veto the bill because it does not include $3.6 billion in cuts below last year's total funding levels. As military family members, we are outraged that this administration and Congress can continue to spend $5 billion dollars a week in Iraq and yet not care if our soldiers and veterans are denied practical help in finding jobs, shelter for homeless vets, and medical and mental health care.
Please take a simple action today. Call, send a postcard to or write a letter to your representative and senator and ask them to approve H.R. 3043. Ask them not to back down from overriding a Bush veto.
To find your Member of Congress and their local mailing address, you can go to www.congress.org. You can call toll free using one of the following numbers that go right to the Capitol switchboard (ask for the office of your Senators, Representative): 800-828-0498, 800-459-1887 or 800-614-2803.
Tell them, as a military family member, what the funding in this bill will mean to your child, spouse, or loved one returning from Iraq. And tell them that passing the provisions in this bill demonstrate the kind of authentic support for our troops that every soldier and every American understands.