Congressman Mike Gallagher
Rep. Gallagher and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) announced that their amendment, aimed at bridging the gap between services provided for active duty servicemembers at the Department of Defense (DoD) and those provided to veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), successfully passed through the House of Representatives as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Originally introduced as a standalone bill in November 2017, the amendment will allow the DoD to notify local veterans officials that a new veteran will be transitioning out of service and into their community. “In my district in Northeast Wisconsin, I’ve had numerous veterans reach out to me about their own difficulties in getting re-established back into the community,” Gallagher said. “Our amendment aims to connect veterans with local resources in their communities so that they have, and know where to find, all the tools they need to successfully navigate civilian life.” Representatives Gallagher and Maloney originally introduced The Know Your Vets Act as a standalone bill in November of 2017. Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) are available to assist new veterans during the transition out of military service, but VSOs have no way of knowing that a recently discharged veteran has returned home or moved to their community. Without being notified about newly-discharged veterans in their area VSOs must wait for a veteran to contact them, which can be a barrier to the provision of services. This legislation would give veterans the option of having their final certificate of discharge paperwork, also known as a DD-214 form, sent to a county VSO based on the location of their retirement from service. This notification will allow VSOs to proactively reach out to offer assistance and ensure the new veteran has a smooth transition back to civilian life.
Source: Gallagher press release
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Sen. Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, worked to include $20 million for the Small Shipyard Grant Program in the Fiscal Year 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Senate Appropriations bill. Baldwin has long supported this program that helps small shipyards, such as Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay and Fraser Shipyards in Superior, repair and modernize equipment and train workers. Because shipyards can use the funding to purchase new equipment, the program supports Made in America manufacturing and Wisconsin companies like Marine Travelift in Sturgeon Bay. “In Wisconsin, and across America, small shipyards are considered the lifeblood of the maritime economy,” Baldwin said. “Funding this program is a win for America’s small shipyards, equipment manufacturers, the workboat fleet, and jobs in all of these industries.” The Small Shipyard Grant Program provides assistance to small shipyards to make capital improvements and train workers to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Small Shipyard grants support American manufacturers and workers that provide parts for shipbuilding, maintenance and repair services. This program was eliminated in President Trump’s proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget.
Source: Baldwin press release
Senator Ron Johnson
Sen. Johnson and 34 other senators sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta, and HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar urging the administration to restore 12-month terms for short-term, limited duration insurance plans, which were available for two decades before being prohibited by Obama administration rules in 2016. The senators also urged the administration to clarify that issuers can offer renewal guarantees for STLD plans as a consumer option. “Allowing STLD plans to offer terms of up to 12 months along with renewal guarantees, consistent with the October 12, 2017 executive order issued by President Trump, would allow options for enrollees who face skyrocketing premiums or who have an unexpected gap in coverage,” the senators wrote. “Restoring consumer choice in the STLD market would provide more affordable alternatives and allow for consumer options in the event individuals in that market develop illnesses. We urge the departments to provide maximum flexibility for patients and consumers in the final rule by allowing STLD insurance plans to offer terms of up to 12 months in addition to renewal guarantees.”
Source: Johnson press release
President Donald Trump
President Trump is declaring success after a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that resulted in an understanding that Pyongyang would work toward denuclearization and the U.S. would end joint military exercises with South Korea. Trump and Kim signed a document agreeing to a handful of key provisions. But the future remains unclear – the U.S. and North Korea did not reach any agreement on the details of how to achieve or verify that denuclearization. “We’ll be verifying,” the president remarked in a rare, extended news conference after the summit. Trump also claimed Kim told him North Korea has destroyed a “major” missile testing site, although he didn’t expand on that. Trump said the U.S. will continue sanctions until denuclearization occurs, but suggested sanctions might be lifted earlier than many experts thought possible.