Vets bills could fall victim to fiscal cliff indecision

WASHINGTON – If lawmakers don’t return to town to finalize a fiscal cliff deal this week, the federal budget won’t be is only political casualty. A pair of veterans bills with broad support are also poised to fail without House action before Jan. 3.

The measures seemed headed for certain passage by the House before the Christmas break. But when Republican leaders abruptly ended session and sent lawmakers home, it left the proposals in legislative limbo.

New survey aims to fix veterans’ sleep problems

WASHINGTON – Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the veterans wellness firm VetAdvisor are teaming up to see if they can help returning veterans get a little more rest.

The groups this week launched a new national sleep survey of veterans, looking for ways to battle problems like insomnia or excessive fatigue. The goal of the research is to better map the most common struggles among past and current servicemembers, and find solutions to the sleeplessness.

Vets unemployment up slightly in November

WASHINGTON – The overall veterans unemployment rate nudged up slightly last month, but this year remains on pace to be the best for job-seeking veterans since 2008, according to new figures released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The rate rose to 6.6 percent in November, up slightly from the 6.3 percent rate in October. But it was still the fourth consecutive month that the veterans unemployment statistic was below 7 percent, the first time that’s happened since late 2008.

Shinseki worries sequestration still could hurt vets

WASHINGTON – Department of Veterans Affairs funding is exempt from the looming sequestration cuts set for next month, but VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said veterans could still be hurt by the spending reductions.

At a press conference on Thursday, Shinseki told reporters that he was “concerned” budget cuts could hit military transition programs, or servicemember retraining efforts. Both are key to ensuring a smooth progression back to civilian life, and any cuts in those programs could have wide-ranging effects.

Capturing the oral history of today's vets

WASHINGTON - For those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, history is already calling.

Unlike wars past, decades won't go by before today's generation of veterans are asked to share their stories. Still in the midst of the longest period of fighting in American history, a new project launching this week is set to capture and share the tales of war from the last 11 years.