Aiming to make veterans issues campaign issues, the largest advocacy group for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has released a voter guide for the upcoming midterm elections.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is not endorsing candidates but is encouraging members to ask candidates where they stand on six key issues, with suicide prevention the group’s top legislative priority.
Here are the issues on IAVA’s veteran voter checklist:
- Combating veteran suicide, including support for the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.
- Reducing the backlog in resolving VA claims, including support of the 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act.
- Supporting legislation to address shortcomings in female veteran health care.
- Supporting the Helping Veterans Exposed to Toxic Chemicals Act, aimed at tackling health problems suffered by veterans exposed to chemicals from burn pits at bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Closing the so-called 90/10 loophole, which many veteran advocates believe encourages for-profit colleges to prey on veterans for their GI Bill money, while offering substandard educations. For-profit colleges are required to earn 10 percent of their income from non-federal government sources, but GI Bill money does not count toward that total, an equation many veterans advocates would like Congress to change.
- Supporting legislation to translate military skills into certifications, such as making it easier for combat medics to go into civilian medical professional jobs.
IAVA legislative director Alexander Nicholson said that in light of the VA scandal, the government needs to address veterans issues proactively, rather than legislating “crisis to crisis.”
“Overall, there certainly is a frustration with Congress’ productivity on veterans’ issues,” Nicholson said.