Veterans Fared Well in 2017; 2018 Rings in Uncertainty

January 5, 2018

As lawmakers close the books on 2017, most veterans and their families can be thankful for some significant improvements in how the VA will deliver their health care and benefits in the new year.  

While getting major legislation through Congress proved challenging this year, this was not the case for some important veterans' bills that made it through with bipartisan, bicameral support.  

MOAA and other veterans' service organizations remained actively engaged throughout the year, working with the VA, Congress, and the administration to ensure veterans' best interests were represented through legislative language and testimony on Capitol Hill. As such, lawmakers introduced hundreds of bills in the first session of the 115th Congress, pressing forward and doing their best to make sure veterans didn't get caught up in partisan politics, which often is the norm these days for both chambers.  

Click on the image below to see some of the 2017 victories to celebrate:

2017 Legis Victories - Thumbnail

Additionally, both the Senate and the House Veterans' Affairs committees passed their respective pieces of legislation to reform the VA health care system and community care programs. Unfortunately, passing tax reform and stop-gap funding caused the sidelining of these bills until January 2018.

So what can we expect for 2018? 

Expect a tougher political and fiscal environment and more competing priorities.

This week, the president met with Republican congressional leaders to lay out a 2018 legislative agenda. However, the president, Republicans, and Democrats have a lot to accomplish, including passing infrastructure and reform legislation for immigration and welfare, Medicaid and Medicare, and other entitlement programs.

Let's not forget, lawmakers still need to address the unfinished business of 2017, such as getting a final spending bill passed to operate the government for the rest of this year, approving funding to help hurricane victims, raising the debt ceiling, and extending the Children's Health Insurance Program - all before the November mid-term elections.  

While the new year brings uncertainty as to what lawmakers will be able to accomplish, MOAA's 2018 focus will remain solid on ensuring timely access to VA health care and preservation of earned veterans' benefits. 

MOAA needs our members to help remind Congress and the administration not to forget about the unfinished work in VA health care reform. We will continue to update you on ways you can make a difference in the lives of the nation's veterans and their families and make theirs a happy new year in 2018.

 

 

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