By Joseph W. Johnston, William A. "Bill" Thien and Daniel M. Dellinger
June 2, 2014, 5:47 p.m.
Bipartisan legislation to do precisely that has already been approved by the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committees. The Putting Veterans Funding First Act — sponsored by Reps. Jeff Miller, R-Fla, and Michael H. Michaud, D-Maine, and by Sens. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and John Boozman, R-Ark., — has the enthusiastic endorsement of our organizations and dozens of other veterans groups. But ironically, the bill seems to have been stalled by — you guessed it — congressional gridlock. Even though it’s a rare piece of legislation that has strong support on both sides of the aisle, the House and Senate leadership has yet to schedule it for a floor vote.
In an all-out campaign to break the logjam, the millions of members of our organizations contacted Congress the week of Memorial Day to demand House and Senate floor votes on the Putting Veterans Funding First Act. We urge Americans readers who share our conviction that America must restore its sacred compact with our veterans to do the same.
For millions of veterans and survivors, the ceremonies and remembrances that take place on Memorial Day are priceless. However, these men and women deserve more than just words, they have earned the right to expect deeds to match. After the speeches and ceremonies are done, when Congress returns to work, they can help fulfill our promises to those who sacrificed for our country by holding a vote to pass the Putting Veterans Funding First Act. America’s veterans deserve no less.
Joseph W. Johnston is the national commander of Disabled American Veterans, William A. “Bill” Thien is the commander-in-chief of Veterans of Foreign Wars and Daniel M. Dellinger is the national commander of the American Legion.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.