The site for the Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial will be constructed at the corner of 23rd Street and Constitution Ave. in Washington D.C., which is northwest in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial and near the Vietnam Wall.
•The president’s federal spending plan for fiscal year 2020 increases VA’s overall budget by 9.6 percent to $220.2 billion. This will enable the VA to start implementation of the MISSION ACT, strengthen mental health access and treatment programs, increase women’s health services and boost electronic health record interoperability with the Department of Defense (DOD). There is some concern about what the budget does with the reintroduction of a controversial round-down of annual cost-of-living allowance increases, the proposed 45 percent decrease to VA’s construction budget and the delay to expand caregiver benefits. Hopefully, this will all be worked out before it is passed.
•The 2020 Defense Budget Request is a 4.9 percent increase. The president’s $750 billion budget request for total defense spending includes a 4.9 percent increase for the Defense Department, or $718 billion, which will enable the department to continue its three-pronged strategy to compete, deter and win across all spectrums of warfare. This includes: a 3.1 percent military pay raise; a 3.2 percent basic allowance for housing increase and a 2.4 percent basic allowance for subsistence increase; growth of the active and reserve forces by almost 40,000 over the next five years; a 10 percent increase for Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency from the current $130.6 million to $144.88 million; the largest research and development request in 70 years; and DOD plans to allocate $8 billion to support military families with childcare, youth programs, school education, and commissary operations.
•This year the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the GI Bill, is turning 75. There have been many different modifications to the GI Bill throughout the years, enabling millions of veterans to prosper after leaving military service. To celebrate this historic milestone, Veterans Affairs wants to hear from veterans who have used the GI Bill in any of its different versions.
•VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said that he would recommend that the Justice Department not contest a recent federal court ruling that will pave the way for the return of earned disability benefits for some 90,000 so-called Blue Water Navy veterans.
If you have concerns about anything veteran benefit related, please feel free to contact me through the Examiner and I will do my best to get answers for you. In the meantime, thank you for your service to our country and may God bless you, Texas and the USA.
Carl Dry is a Korean War veteran, a former Grimes County Veterans Service Officer and the current VFW Post 4006 Commander.