CALLING ALL MISSOURIANS!!! CHECK THIS OUT...
See the below article what Crowell and Cunningham are doing to hold up unrelated issues Senate Bill 498 deals with
veteran issues: the thrift store to have the same rights as other
charitable organizations- Passed the house and Senate without a single
NO vote. Funding for the “veteran houses” in the State (which was
added to the Bill May 2nd, 2012)
Brian.Munzlinger@senate.mo.gov Sponsor of the Bill
Jason.Crowell@senate.mo.gov Holding up Veterans
Jane.Cunningham@senate.mo.gov Holding up Veterans
An attempt to pass legislation to create a dedicated funding source
for Missouri veterans' homes has stalled in the Senate _ at least
Lawmakers generally agree that the veteran's nursing home
legislation is critical for Missouri's proposed $24 billion operating
budget, yet senators debated from Monday afternoon into early Tuesday
morning without being able to come to a vote on the legislation.
Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, has vowed to hold
up the veterans' legislation and any other issue brought to the Senate
floor _ until his concerns over other budgetary issues are addressed.
Crowell has the backing of several other Republican senators who also
have particular beefs with the proposed budget and state policies.
"I know how to tie up the floor, and I'll do it," Crowell warned his colleagues on Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, said
he hopes some additional time will help cool tempers and lead to a
solution. But Dempsey appeared set on pushing the veterans' funding
legislation to a vote.
"From my standpoint, the veterans' funding bill is the
most important bill that we have to do, and until we resolve this issue,
I mean I really don't want to do anything else," Dempsey said.
Missouri's veterans' nursing homes currently are funded
by payments from residents, federal money, state general revenues and $6
million annually from state fees collected from casinos. But the main
trust fund for the Missouri Veterans Commission has shrunk from $80
million in 1999 to $17 million after being repeatedly tapped when
general revenue appropriations declined.
The legislation would earmark about $30 million more
annually in casino fees to the veterans' fund. Early childhood programs
that currently benefit from the casino fees would instead be funded with
$35 million from Missouri's share of a nationwide settlement with
tobacco companies. That would force more money shifting.
Lawmakers expect that about $35 million would have to be
pulled out of the state's basic funding formula for K-12 public schools
to offset the loss of tobacco funds that currently go into state general
revenues and the Medicaid program. The plan assumes that the Missouri
Lottery would generate $35 million in additional revenues for education,
but it is not clear how the lottery would come up with that extra
Crowell helped come up with the veterans' funding plan.
But he's holding it up because of he doesn't like a proposed $2 million
funding increase for Southeast Missouri State University, which is
supported by House Speaker Steven Tilley, R-Perryville. That issue is
still pending before House and Senate budget negotiators.
Others, such as Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield,
participated in holding up the veterans' bill because they want wording
included in legislation that would bar the state from implementing a
quality rating system for preschools and child-care centers and would
prohibit the University of Missouri-St. Louis from running a nonpartisan
political institute for women which some Republican lawmakers contend
has been used to churn out Democratic politicians.
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2012 8:42 AM
Subject: Reply from Senator McCaskill
June 25, 2012
Dear Neslo Ventures,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the
interests of servicemembers and veterans as Congress addresses our nation's
deficit and long-term debt. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the
opportunity to respond.
In these difficult economic times, it is
more important than ever to protect the benefits and care that our military
members have earned. Whether they are currently deployed overseas,
serving and training back home, or were honorably discharged years ago, I
remain committed to ensuring our brave men and women in uniform are properly
and fully supported.
Earlier this year, the Department of
Defense requested authority to raise certain TRICARE fees on military
retirees. I am opposed to the Department's request, which is why I am
proud the Senate Armed Services Committee, on which I serve, has rejected
additional TRICARE fees in the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization
Act. While I believe there are savings to be had in the Pentagon's
budget, we must not balance our nation's budget on the backs of our veterans
who have already borne the cost of protecting our freedom.
As the budget debates continue in
Congress, I know that many Missourians like you are watching with tremendous
personal interest. As Congress works to address our budget deficit and
our long-term debt -- which former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Admiral Mike Mullen labeled our most significant national security challenge --
some have become increasingly concerned that hard-won victories for wounded
servicemembers and veterans may be jeopardized. I will be working on
behalf of our nation's veterans to make sure that this does not happen.
While in the Senate, two of my most
significant priorities have been reducing Washington's spending and advocating
on behalf of those who have fought to secure our freedom. I am proud to
say that I have voted against every bloated omnibus spending bill that has come
before me and have never requested an earmark. I have also successfully
worked with my colleagues to ensure that veterans have received significantly
increased resources after an era of too many attempts to short change veterans.
Whether fully funding the independent
budget of major Veterans Service Organizations for the first time, drastically
reforming how we support our most recent wounded warriors, winning critical
increases in mileage reimbursement rates for disabled veterans traveling to
receive care, or increasing the numbers of claim processors to address the
claims backlog at the Veterans Administration, we have made important progress
for our nation's veterans. Please know that I remain committed to
ensuring that our military heroes - past, present and future - receive the
support and benefits they earned. Thank you for your service and for your
commitment to veterans. God bless and God bless our country.
Again, thank you for contacting me.
Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further
assistance to you on this or any other issue.
United States Senator
P.S. If you would like more information
about resources that can help Missourians, or what I am doing in the Senate on
your behalf, please sign up for my email newsletter at http://mccaskill.senate.gov.
Friday, June 01, 2012
this year, DAV and our partner organizations in The Independent Budget,
recommended that funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) FY 2013
health care budget be increased by $3.8 billion in order to meet increased
demand and rising health care costs. By contrast, the Administration’s budget
proposal called for a $2.3 billion increase for the Veterans Health
Administration (VHA), a difference of $1.5 billion. We strongly believe the
additional funds we identified can be put to effective use within VA, including
better meeting the needs of new veterans of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On May 31, by a vote of 407-12, the House passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013
Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bill. The bill includes a
measure that would boost suicide prevention and homeless assistance funds for
veterans. It would also provide $71.7 billion in discretionary funding for
veterans’ benefits about four percent above the FY 2012 level, but $1.5 billion
less than The Independent Budget recommendation.
Recently, we saw evidence of the negative effects of inadequate funding at a
Senate hearing when witnesses
testified that VA is failing to meet the mental health needs of the veterans it
should be serving. VA’s Inspector General reported that these problems were
caused by a multiplicity of factors, including funding and staffing shortages,
and lack of quick, easy access by veterans to VA’s many mental health programs.
The Inspector General’s findings are consistent with DAV’s own internal survey of the VA mental health care system
that showed serious problems with access and response for veterans seeking
If you or a family member have experience with VA mental health care and
would like to add your voice to our continuing survey, please complete the
We need grassroots support: please use the prepared e-mail
to write your Senators to urge them to increase funding for VA’s FY 2013
appropriation by at least $1.5 billion for medical care services to match or
exceed the recommendations of the Independent Budget. We are concerned that
failure to provide this increase could lead to further disruptions of VA health
care and other vital programs, including its critical mental health efforts.
As always, we at DAV are
grateful for your participation in our legislative and grassroots advocacy
program. Without your active assistance DAV would not be able to accomplish
many of our goals in support of the interests of sick and disabled veterans.
Courtesy of The Military Wallet 10/04/2011
President Obama recently released a $4.4 trillion
deficit-reduction plan, and military benefits were a large part of the
proposed cuts. Increases to TRICARE fees were included in the
President’s plan, in addition to proposed cuts to military retirement benefits.
The proposed increases in TRICARE fees include charging an enrollment
fee for TRICARE for Life members, and increasing TRICARE pharmacy
co-pays for military beneficiaries.
Proposed TRICARE for Life Enrollment Fees
TRICARE for Life is available to military retirees
who are age 65 and older. They currently do not pay an enrollment fee
to participate in TRICARE for Life. Part of President Obama’s
deficit-reduction proposal include a $200 annual enrollment fee for
military retirees to continue receiving military health care benefits.
If approved and voted into law, the increased TRICARE For Life
enrollment fees would not begin until Fiscal year 2013. This is expected
to generate over $6.7 billion in revenues over the next 10 years.
TRICARE prescription co-pay increases may be coming soon.
The Department of Defense (DoD) has also proposed increased co-pays for
prescription drugs to help make up for budget shortfalls and help
decrease the gap between the enrollment fees and actual costs. These
increases have not yet been approved, and would likely be based on a
percentage of the government’s cost of the medicines.
TRICARE Prime Enrollment Fee Increases
If you are enrolled in TRICARE Prime, then you will see a small
increase in your TRICARE Prime enrollment fees in 2012. Stating on
October 1, 2011 (fiscal year 2012), the new annual fees for TRICARE
Prime enrollment are $260 and $520 for individual and family plans, an
annual increase of $30 for individuals, and $60 for families. The price
increases work out to an additional $5 per month for a family
enrollment, or an additional $2.50 per month for a single retiree.
These enrollment fees apply to retired uniformed servicemembers,
eligible family members, survivors, and eligible former spouses of
TRICARE Prime members. Members who are currently enrolled in TRICARE
Prime will not have to pay the increased enrollment fees until they
renew their enrollment in January 2012. These fee increases are separate
from President Obama’s deficit reduction plan and the proposed TRICARE
For Life enrollment fee increases.
There may be more price hikes in the future. This
proposed price increase may be the first in a series or annual
enrollment fee increases for TRICARE Prime members, as there has been
discussion to tie the price hikes to the Medicare health care index,
which will cause TRICARE Prime membership enrollment to rise as the
Medicare health index rises.
Raising TRICARE Fees is a complicated issue
There are pros and cons to raising enrollment fees and prescription
medicine co-pays. I see 3 distinct sides of the argument, and I have
broken them down as best I can in an objective manner:
- Raising enrollment fees hurts retirees.
- Even with the price increases, TRICARE is an excellent deal.
- TRICARE is unsustainable in its current state.
Let’s take a look at these three points of view in more detail, and as always, we would love to hear your opinion.
Rising TRICARE Enrollment Costs Hurts Retirees
The trouble with raising the prices of retiree health care is that
most retirees are on a fixed income, and if there is a freeze on Cost of
Living Adjustments (COLA), or a series of small increases in COLA, then
even small increases in retiree expenses could have a dramatic affect
on a retiree’s standard of living. Perhaps $5 per month won’t have a big
affect on most retirees’ quality of life, but when you add that to the
inflation we are seeing in other areas and fewer COLA increases, then it
may have a detrimental effect.
Even with Price Hikes, TRICARE is a Great Deal
I don’t want to defend the price hikes, but I understand the need for
the DoD and government to do something. The cost of health care is
rising faster than most people can keep up with, and it is one of the
biggest concerns in our nation – not just for military retirees, but for
everyone. The new proposed family care plan under TRICARE Prime would
cost $520 per year, which is less than many civilian families pay each
month for family health care through an employer’s group health insurance plan. It’s a great deal, but unfortunately, the rising cost of health care means something must be done.
TRICARE is Unsustainable in its Current State.
I know many military retirees and their family members will be
disappointed to hear about the price increases, but many retirees
probably already realize that the rising cost of health care has placed
the government in a tough position. The simple fact of the matter is
this: TRICARE is unsustainable in its current state, and the DoD will
have to spend an increasingly large part of its budget paying for
retiree pensions and health care, while sacrificing money that could be
spent on weapon systems, training, and troop retention.
The key will be for the DoD to address these TRICARE enrollment fee
increases in a way that will won’t dramatically affect military
retirees’ budgets. Ideally, the DoD would be able to work with the
federal government to find another way to fund TRICARE without resorting
to price hikes.
Do You Disagree with the Proposed Price Increases?
At the time of this writing, the TRICARE Prime price increases have
been approved and are in effect. however, the proposed TRICARE For Life
enrollment fees and prescription medicine co-pays are just proposals,
and need to be voted into law before they go into effect. If you feel
strongly that these price hikes shouldn’t be passed, then you should
contact your Congressional representative or favorite military
organization and let them know where you stand on this issue.
From: Senator Roy Blunt [mailto:email@example.com]
Dear Neslo Ventures,
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 9:07 AM
Subject: Reply from Senator Roy Blunt
Thank you for contacting me about S. 1689, the Veterans Sexual Assault Prevention Act of 2011.
I am grateful for the sacrifices our veterans have made to protect the
American people, our nation, and our way of life. The federal government
must meet the needs of our military veterans and keep the promises made
to the brave men and women who ably served our nation in uniform. In
2003, as a member of the House of Representatives, I led the fight to
allow concurrent receipt for the first time, meaning disabled veterans
can now receive both military retirement benefits and VA disability
compensation at the same time. This remains one of my proudest
accomplishments in Congress.
The safety and well-being of our
brave men and women in uniform are important to all of us. Your
advocacy for this cause makes a difference, and I will be sure to keep
your thoughts in mind should S. 1689 or other legislation affecting
veterans come to the Senate floor for a vote.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I look forward to continuing our conversation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SenatorBlunt) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/RoyBlunt)
about the important issues facing Missouri and the country. I also
encourage you to visit my website (blunt.senate.gov) to learn more about
where I stand on the issues and sign-up for my e-newsletter.
United States Senator
For 92 years, our nation has set aside
November 11th as a day to honor those who have served in our armed forces.
Originally, the day was set aside to celebrate the veterans of the First
World War. Later, it was broadened to include every man and woman who has
worn the uniform of the United States. And today, we continue that
tradition by honoring the service and sacrifice of our troops and veterans.
But I believe that this commemoration
should last much longer than just 24 hours, once a year. That's why Jill
Biden and I launched the Joining Forces initiative to honor, recognize, and
support the veterans and military families who have given our nation so
much. We're issuing a call to all Americans, so that everyone asks
themselves one simple question: How can I give back?
We've been overwhelmed by responses from
across the country. Businesses are hiring more veterans. Nonprofit
organizations are working with military children. And individuals all
across the country have stepped up to help out in their community. How will
you give back?
Sign up for an opportunity to volunteer in your
community, pledge service hours in honor of military families, or send a
message of thanks to America's heroes.
Our efforts with Joining Forces come on
top of the many actions my husband has made on behalf of our veterans and
He's worked to send 600,000 veterans back
to school on the Post-9/11 GI Bill and taken steps to help veterans
translate military experience to the private sector job market. He repealed
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- so that our troops don't have to live
a lie in order to serve the country they love. He ended the war in Iraq --
our service men and women there will be home for the holidays. And just
yesterday, the Senate passed two tax credits that he proposed to encourage
businesses to hire America's veterans and wounded warriors.
So inside and outside of government, we're
building a wave of support to honor and recognize our veterans and their
families. We can use your help. Today, let's all find a new way that we can
get involved in our communities, not just for Veterans Day, but every
Visit JoiningForces.gov and sign up today.
Please do not reply to this email. Contact the White
The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC
20500 • 202-456-1111
See the attached regarding
Proposed changes to military benefits
(namely loss of Tricare Prime and increased fees)
From: Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer
Sent: Monday, November 07, 2011 8:40 PM
Subject: Thank you for your inquiry.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I appreciate your views and
welcome the opportunity to respond. Please note this is an automated
response, so please do not reply to this email.
Each day, I receive hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls. Due to the
large volume of correspondence, my response time may vary. I appreciate your
patience with me and my staff. If this inquiry is in regards to casework -
such as passports, federal benefits, grants, military academy nominations or
other individual issues involving federal agencies - please contact my
Columbia office for assistance.
I appreciate the opportunity afforded me to serve you and the great people of
Missouri's Ninth Congressional District and am honored to be your voice in
Washington, D.C. For further updates, I encourage you to sign up for my
weekly newsletter on my Web site at
and visit my Facebook
page and YouTube site.
Member of Congress
From: Senator Roy Blunt [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2011 8:52 AM
Subject: Reply from Senator Roy Blunt
Dear Neslo Ventures,
you for contacting me about cuts in veterans' earned retirement benefits and
Tricare fee increases.
grateful for the sacrifices our veterans have made to protect the American
people, our nation, and our way of life. Since coming to Congress, I have
worked to ensure that the federal government is meeting the needs of our
military veterans and keeping our promises to the brave men and women who ably
served our nation in uniform. In 2003, as a member of the House of
Representatives, I led the fight to allow concurrent receipt for the first
time. This remains one of my proudest accomplishments in Congress.
understand we still have further to go. It is time for Congress to come
together to identify ways to change the way Washington spends taxpayers' money,
but plans that propose cuts to Medicare, Social Security, or Tricare need to be
carefully examined to ensure they do not significantly burden individuals who
rely on these programs for their primary source of health care or income. As
these issues come to the Senate, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I look forward to
continuing our conversation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SenatorBlunt) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/RoyBlunt) about the
important issues facing Missouri and the country. I also encourage
you to visit my website (blunt.senate.gov) to learn more
about where I stand on the issues and sign-up for my e-newsletter.
United States Senator