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TREA Legislative Update for August 18, 2006

It is a hot slow August week in Washington DC. But even so there is some news.

U.S. Governors oppose proposal to give President control over National Guard during disaster relief-Not surprisingly the Nation’s Governors came out against a House proposal to give the President more authority over the National Guard during disaster relief. The House’s version of the NDAA07 (HR5122) includes a provision that allows the President to take control of the National Guard during “a serious natural or manmade disaster, accident, or catastrophe that occurs in the United States, its territories and possessions or Puerto Rico” Currently the National Guard is under the command of the Governors during natural disasters. At a meeting of the National Governors Association its Chairman Mike Huckabee, the Republican Governor of Arkansas, urged all the governors to co-sign a letter to the Senate leadership objecting to the provision. 51 Governors of states and territories signed the letter to Senator John J. Warner (R-VA and Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan)

VA announces Data Security Encryption Program-The VA announced that all the VA’s computers will be immediately upgraded with new “enhanced data security encryption systems” The $3.7 million contract to do the work was awarded to SMS, Inc., a service disabled veterans owned software firm. When announcing the award VA Secretary Nicholson said, ”I have promised America's veterans that I intend to make VA information security a model of data security and this expedited encryption program is a major step in that direction. A system-wide encryption program will be a tremendous step forward in improving the safety and security of sensitive veteran information."

VA announces that they will maintain there hospitals in NYC-VA Secretary Nicholson announced that the VA will keep both the Manhattan and the Brooklyn VA medical centers open and will make major renovations and improvements at the St. Albans VA Medical Center in Queens. There has been an ongoing 2 year analysis studying if the centers should be consolidated. The decision was based both for the convenience of the veterans and the VA’s desire to continue retain its close ties with NYU’s Medical School and the medical school of the State University of New York. Secretary Nicholson made this announcement on NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Weekly radio show. The Secretary also said: “I want to personally thank our local advisory panels for the Manhattan/Brooklyn study and the St. Albans study, which have guided us in these decisions, along with many others, including the New York congressional delegation, veterans groups, city and state leaders, other stakeholders and VA employees.”

VA Secretary Visits Iraq-The Secretary of the VA, James Nicholson, made a visit to the medical facilities of Iraq to see the treatment of the service members who will soon being served by his Department. Secretary Nicholson traveled with Reps. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and John Boozman (R-Ark.) John Salazar (D-Colo.) both members of the House VA Committee.

Proposed cut in National Defense Appropriations Committee for DOD Brain Research-When going through the hundreds of pages of the Senate’s and House’s National Defense Appropriations Act for 07 there was a surprising section cutting the funding for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center by 50%. If implemented as now proposed the funding will drop from $14 million this year to $7 million next year. The Center’s mission is to treat and understand war-related brain injuries. Every year of this war the center has received in creased funding up to last year’s $14 million. The Senate staff says that the cut is due to the tight budget. Brain injuries are of growing concern during this war. The improved body armor often protects the service members’ bodies but not their brains. If you are concerned about this proposal please contact your members of Congress.

List of Town Hall Meetings being held around the Country next week (August 21-August 28)-Here is a partial list of town hall meetings being held all over the United States next week. If your members of Congress are included this is the time you can see them in person and tell them about your concerns as a military retiree.

Member of Congress: Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA)
Date & Time: 8/21/2006, 7:30 PM
Location:
Veterans Hall
846 Front Street
Santa Cruz, California

Member of Congress: Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Date & Time: 8/21/2006, 10:00 AM
Location:
Boys and Girls Club of Dane County
4705 Jenewein Drive
Madison, Wisconsin

Member of Congress: Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA)
Date & Time: 8/22/2006, 6:30 PM
Location:
East Salinas Firehouse
1330 E. Alisal Street
Salinas, California

Member of Congress: Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)
Date & Time: 8/22/2006, 12:00 PM
Location:
City Hall
7232 Main Street
Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Member of Congress: Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)
Date & Time: 8/22/2006, 2:00 PM
Location:
Transportation Information Office
202 North 2nd Street
Sandpoint, Idaho

Member of Congress: Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)
Date & Time: 8/22/2006, 7:00 PM
Location:
Human Rights Education Institute
414 West Mullan
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Member of Congress: Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Date & Time: 8/22/2006, 4:45 PM
Location:
Roby Community Center
108 S. Concho Street
Roby, Texas

Member of Congress: Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Date & Time: 8/22/2006, 3:15 PM
Location:
Lions Club
102 Garfield Street
Rotan, Texas

Member of Congress: Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Date & Time: 8/22/2006, 11:00 AM
Location:
Citizens Bank
210 N. Broadway
Post, Texas

Member of Congress: Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA)
Date & Time: 8/23/2006, 7:00 PM
Location:
Fair Oaks Community Clubhouse
7997 California Avenue
Fair Oaks, California

Member of Congress: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Date & Time: 8/23/2006, 10:45 AM
Location:
Keokuk County Health Center
1312 South Stuart Street
Sigourney, Iowa

Member of Congress: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Date & Time: 8/23/2006, 1:30 PM
Location:
Marengo Memorial Hospital
300 West May Street
Marengo, Iowa

Member of Congress: Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)
Date & Time: 8/23/2006, 7:00 PM
Location:
University Inn, Silver Room
1516 Pullman Road
Moscow, Idaho

Member of Congress: Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)
Date & Time: 8/23/2006, 12:30 PM
Location:
Grub Box Restaurant
201 North 8th Street
St. Maries, Idaho

Member of Congress: Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)
Date & Time: 8/23/2006, 9:30 AM
Location:
Commerce and Labor
35 Wildcat Way
Kellogg, Idaho

Member of Congress: Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Date & Time: 8/23/2006, 2:45 PM
Location:
Fort Belknap
1302 W. Main St.
Olney, Texas

Member of Congress: Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Date & Time: 8/23/2006, 10:30 AM
Location:
TX State Technical College
307 N. Breckenridge Ave.
Breckenridge, Texas

Member of Congress: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Date & Time: 8/23/2006, 11:00 AM
Location:
Flatiron Mall
1661 Douglas Ave.
Racine, Wisconsin

Member of Congress: Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)
Date & Time: 8/24/2006, 7:30 PM
Location:
Reseda High School
18230 Kittridge St.
Reseda, California

Member of Congress: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Date & Time: 8/24/2006, 7:45 AM
Location:
Monona Community Center
104 South Egbert Street
Monona, Iowa

Member of Congress: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Date & Time: 8/24/2006, 12:45 PM
Location:
Cresco City Hall
North Elm Street
Cresco, Iowa

Member of Congress: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Date & Time: 8/24/2006, 9:45 AM
Location:
Allamakee County Courthouse
110 Allamakee Street
Waukon, Iowa

Member of Congress: Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)
Date & Time: 8/24/2006, 7:00 PM
Location:
Grangeville Senior Center
County Road
Grangeville, Idaho

Member of Congress: Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)
Date & Time: 8/24/2006, 12:00 PM
Location:
VFW Hall
330 Michigan Avenue
Orofino, Idaho

Member of Congress: Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Date & Time: 8/24/2006, 3:45 PM
Location:
Clyde Chamber of Commerce
614 N. 1st St.
Clyde, Texas

Member of Congress: Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Date & Time: 8/24/2006, 2:15 PM
Location:
Callahan Cty. Court House
100 W. 4th St.
Baird, Texas

Member of Congress: Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Date & Time: 8/24/2006, 11:00 AM
Location:
City Hall 201 S. Main St. Cross Plains, Texas

Member of Congress: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Date & Time: 8/28/2006, 9:15 AM
Location:
The Election Center
1301 Broadway Street
Emmetsburg, Iowa

Member of Congress: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Date & Time: 8/28/2006, 3:30 PM
Location:
Spencer Public Library
21 East 3rd Street
Spencer, Iowa

Member of Congress: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Date & Time: 8/28/2006, 1:45 PM
Location:
Spirit Lake Library
702 16th Street
Spirit Lake, Iowa

Member of Congress: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Date & Time: 8/28/2006, 11:15 AM
Location:
Ringsted American Legion Community Center
5 West Maple Street
Ringsted, Iowa

Member of Congress: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Date & Time: 8/28/2006, 7:30 AM
Location:
Kossuth County Courthouse
114 West State Street
Algona, Iowa

New rules and publications from the VA

Accreditation of Veterans Health Administration Rehabilitation Programs VHA Handbook 1170.1 has been approved for publication 

Internet http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/

VHA Information Letter 10-2006-010, Potential Health Effects Among Veterans Involved in Military Chemical Warfare Agents Experiments Conducted from 1955 to 1975 has been approved for publication

Internet http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/