WASHINGTON, D.C. -U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, heard veterans service organizations (VSOs) at three separate hearings this week express concerns about recommendations from the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors. Specifically, the VSOs raised objections to the Commission's recommendation for a two-tiered disability benefits system that would treat veterans differently based on their periods of service. Today's hearing was the last of three joint House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearings this week to review the legislative proposals of various VSOs.
"A two-tiered compensation system could pit veterans of our recent conflicts against those of different eras, which is clearly unacceptable," said Chairman Akaka. "The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee has held three hearings to review veterans' disability compensation this Session, with more planned in the months to come, and we will keep the VSOs' concerns in mind as we move forward on this issue."
At today's hearing, the Non-Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S.A (NCOA) testified regarding their strong opposition to any system giving "different disability rating awards to classes of veterans from different combat eras." Similarly, the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) recommended against any legislation to simply implement the recommendations of the President's Commission.
Testifying before the joint committees earlier this week, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) urged caution regarding the President's Commission's recommendations, noting that the Commission had only four short months to report on a wide-range of veterans' issues. VFW specifically expressed their opposition to the Commission's recommendation to create a two-tiered disability compensation system.
The full witness list for today's joint hearing and the Chairman's opening statement for today's joint hearing can be viewed here.
March 6, 2008