Legislation to Honor Hispanic Infantry Regiment with Congressional Gold Medal

Bill Would Award Congessional Gold Medal to Puerto Rican Soldiers

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the renowned 65th Infantry Regiment – a segregated military unit composed almost entirely of soldiers from Puerto Rico who played a prominent role in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. Members of this unit are known as the "Borinqueneers." They were the last segregated unit to be deactivated.

"This legislation will ensure the Borinqueneers' bravery in battle gets the recognition it deserves," Blumenthal said. "Not only did the Borinqueneers valiantly serve and sacrifice for this country, they did so while enduring injustice on and off the battlefield."

Read more: Legislation to Honor Hispanic Infantry Regiment with Congressional Gold Medal

Schwartz Bill Aims to Bolster Veteran Employment, Economic Security

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Allyson Y. Schwartz (PA-13) introduced the Veteran Employment Transition Act to help veterans find work and have greater economic security as they transition to civilian life. The bill provides a new, streamlined $2,400 tax credit to businesses hiring a recently discharged veteran.

"As the daughter of a Korean War veteran, I am committed to ensuring that our nation's veterans can find good, stable jobs when they return home," Congresswoman Schwartz said. "I have a vivid memory of my father's sacrifice on behalf of our nation, an experience that is shared by countless veterans and their families. It is unacceptable that so many veterans are struggling to find work. We must do more to help the servicemen and women, who have risked all for our freedom and prosperity. Our veterans bring unique skills, perspectives and training that would add value to American companies and help grow our economy."

Read more: Schwartz Bill Aims to Bolster Veteran Employment, Economic Security

House Passes COLA Bill for Vets

The House on Tuesday passed a cost-of-living adjustment bill for veterans that guarantees a raise each year. However, the American Heroes Cost of Living Adjustment Act still contains some provisions that veterans groups don't like.

Veteran advocates feared that the legislation could tie future increases to a more conservative Consumer Price Index (CPI) formula. Before the bill passed, those fears were resolved.

Lawmakers introduced what is often called "chained CPI" as a measure to lower Social Security spending. Chained CPI more conservatively calculates inflation. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a chained CPI could reduce the deficit by about $340 billion.

Along with Social Security, CPI is also used to determine a veteran's COLA. Veterans groups worried that the American Heroes Cost of Living Adjustment Act would protect the COLA from political interference, but it could also lock them into a lower rate. But before the bill was passed, a compromise was struck.

Read more: House Passes COLA Bill for Vets

New Bill Would Give GI Bill to Surviving Spouses

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced a bill today that would amend the Post-9/11 GI Bill to include spousal eligibility for the Fry Scholarship. Under the Spouses of Heroes Education Act, spouses of fallen servicemembers could receive the full cost of public, in-state tuition and fees, plus a monthly living stipend and book allowance. Spouses would need to use this benefit within fifteen years, and would not remain eligible if they remarried.

Read more: New Bill Would Give GI Bill to Surviving Spouses

Groups Say COLA Bill Will Cost Disabled Vets

Five veterans' service organizations have opposed a bill sent to the House floor on Wednesday that would guarantee disabled veterans an annual cost of living adjustment immune to the type of Congressional holds that threatened last year's COLA.

The groups -- the American Legion, AMVETS, the Disabled American Veterans, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Veterans of Foreign Wars -- supported the intent of the bill but said its formula for increases shortchanges vets over time because it requires any raise to be "rounded down" to the nearest dollar.

"Such reductions compound each year and over time have the effect of significantly eroding the true value of these benefits for disabled veterans, their families and survivors, many of whom rely heavily or solely on them as their only means of financial support," the groups told lawmakers.

Read more: Groups Say COLA Bill Will Cost Disabled Vets

Anonymous - Philadelphia, PA

"I am the wife of a Viet Nam Veteran. My husband started going to PVMSEC 10 years ago for help. No mere words could ever express how much his life and in turn our family life has changed for the better in those years. I am and always will be grateful for the wonderful care he has received at the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service Center & Education Center."

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