The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) advocates on behalf of, veterans, military, and their families. Advocacy is defined as a constituent relaying his or her ideas and opinions to governmental officials, such as the President of the United States, US senators and representatives, governors, legislators, mayors, commissioners, and city council members.
The American Legion Auxiliary is a strong advocate for veterans and national security issues promoted and supported by The American Legion. Many bills pertaining to veterans benefits, military funding, and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs funding are proposed every year. While the ALA might not speak out about every bill introduced, ALA members should take the opportunity to make a difference for legislation of particular interest to the Legion Family, veterans, and our military. (Find out more in our blog series: Getting to know the American Legion Auxiliary.) https://alaforveterans.wordpress.com/2017/07/06/getting-to-know-the-american-legion-auxiliary-part-1/
The ALA supports the public policy positions of The American Legion. The American Legion regularly adopts and renews legislative intent resolutions. The resolutions reflect the will of the membership and serve as instructions to Legion officers and staff as to which legislative issues to monitor and what positions to take.
The American Legion publishes and disseminates a range of public policy material to communicate its public policy positions, including legislative intent resolutions, legislative priority sheets, legislative point papers and congressional testimonies. These materials are available at the Legion’s Legislative Center at http://www.legion.org/legislative.
Legislative issues recurring for The American Legion Family include the following:
Veterans Program Funding
- Veterans Affairs Funding: Provide adequate funding for programs and services of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA);
- Housing and Urban Development Funding: Provide adequate funding for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s permanent supportive housing program for homeless veterans (HUD-VASH);
- Labor Funding: Provide adequate funding for the U.S. Department of Labor’s veterans employment programs; and
- State Veterans Homes: Provide adequate funding for veterans long-term care facilities.
- Availability of Care: Ensure modern and geographically distributed VA facilities;
- Quality of Care: Monitor the quality of healthcare provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs;
- Treatment for Women Veterans: Ensure adequate and qualified staff and settings for treating women veterans;
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, Military Sexual Trauma: Improve veterans’ access to mental health and substance use services, including services for PTSD, TBI and MST; and
- Wounded Warrior Care: Provide health and rehabilitation support for returning wounded servicemembers.
- VA Benefits Claims: Eliminate the backlog in processing of claims for veterans benefits;
- Concurrent Receipt: Eliminate the deduction of disabled veterans’ disability pay from their military retirement pensions; and
- Medical Record Sharing: Expedite the implementation of an information system for electronic sharing of medical records between the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
Veterans Education and Employment
- Education Benefits: Ensure proper administration and veterans’ utilization of VA education benefits;
- Credentialing: Incentivize states to recognize education and skills gained during military service as sufficient for state occupational credentials; and
- Federal Preference: Monitor federal agency application of veteran preference in hiring and contracting.
Troops and Family Support
- Defense Funding: Provide adequate funding for the nation’s military operations, equipment, maintenance and facilities, servicemember pay and benefits, and retiree healthcare;
- Housing: Ensure the Basic Allowance for Housing keeps pace with housing costs; and
- Transition Assistance: Ensure opportunities for servicemembers and families participating in pre-deployment, and pre-separation and transition assistance briefings and services.
- Flag Protection: Seek constitutional amendment to allow Congress to protect the flag;
- Voting: Encourage and enable people to vote.
Advocacy succeeds when many individuals with the same goals and sentiments contact government officials and staff members to express their views. By virtue of our numbers, the more than three million members of The American Legion Family are a mighty force in providing for today’s needs, and working toward a better future for our veterans. Because the ALA represents wives, mothers, daughters, granddaughters or sisters of a veteran, plus women veterans, we bring a unique perspective and voice to the public policy process. Advocacy is not the responsibility of a few. It is the responsibility of all who care about our veterans.
To learn about the legislative issues currently being endorsed and supported by The American Legion Family, or more about constitutional protection of the American flag, click here. https://www.alaforveterans.org/advocate/