veterans’ priorites to Trump transition team
By Andrea C. Dickerson
The American Legion hosted a
meeting with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team and
representatives from more than 30 other veterans service organizations
(VSOs) today to address concerns and lay out top priorities leading
into the new administration.
The veteran-focused meeting was the first of its kind held between
Trump’s team and any outside organization. American Legion Executive
Director Verna Jones affirmed the commitment of veteran service
organizations to advocate for those who have “borne the battle” –
veterans from all eras.
The American Legion co-authored a three-point position paper along with
executive leadership of the Big Six Congressionally chartered service
organizations, supporting the Trump administration’s efforts to
strengthen, reform and sustain the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
heath care system, remove budget constraints that negatively impact
veteran-centered programs, and reform the VA’s claims and appeals
“The American Legion would like the Trump administration to know that
we value our Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Jones.
“Dollar-for-dollar, there is no better care or value available anywhere
in the United States – period. While we will always support strong and
expeditious accountability measures for bad actors, the institution of
the department that was designed to care for those who have borne the
battle is sacrosanct, and it belongs to the more than 22 million
veterans who risked their lives in defense of this country, many of
whom left significant pieces of themselves on the battlefield.”
Additionally, The American Legion initiated a call-to-action on fairly
new Legion priorities – support of research related to the impacts of
medical marijuana and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s
reclassification of cannabis from a Schedule I drug to Schedule III.
Reclassification of the drug would allow easier access to pure strains
of the substance to cultivate quantifiable research and statistics
regarding marijuana’s medical benefits.
Each VSO in attendance had the opportunity to address the transition
team and briefly lay out their main concerns. Other issues addressed
during the meeting included:
• The delivery of high quality, accessible, comprehensive and
veteran-centric health care
• A properly funded 21st century Department of Veterans Affairs
• Sustainment and strengthening of specialized and integrative services
for veterans seeking spinal cord injury/disease care, treatment for
blindness and poly-trauma care
• Timely and accurate delivery of all earned benefits to veterans and
their eligible dependents and survivors, including disability
compensation, pensions, education, housing assistance and other
Although the 114th Congress focused a great deal of attention on
reforming key elements of the delivery of veterans health care and
benefits, VSOs urged the Trump administration and the 115th Congress to
consider recommendations outlined in their three-point letter to:
• Take the necessary steps to end sequestration;
• Sufficiently appropriate funds to increase physician and nurse
staffing within the VA, especially for amputee care, mental health care
and other specialized services; and
• Provide adequate resources to adequately expand VA infrastructure.
Thomas J. Snee, national executive director of the Fleet Reserve
Association echoed the sentiments of fellow VSO representatives while
they addressed transition team members as a united front. Snee stated
that he was encouraged and hopeful about President-elect Trump’s
10-point plan (to reform VA), and looks forward to future conversations
with the president-elect’s team.
The transition team stated their willingness to keep the lines of
communication open with VSOs and committed to continue to advocate for
“The American Legion greatly appreciates the priority and focus the
transition team has shown by making this their first stop in a critical
transition process,” Jones said. “We are encouraged that the incoming
administration chose veterans, and they did a great job of setting the
tone for a very productive meeting.”
November 30, 2016
American Legion to host
The American Legion will host a meeting
with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team and representatives
from nearly 30 other veterans service organizations Thursday at 8 a.m.
According to the transition team, the veteran-focused meeting is the
first between Trump’s team and any outside organization.
Throughout his campaign President-elect Trump identified veterans’
issues as among his top priorities and the purpose of the meeting is
for his staff to hear the questions and concerns of the veterans
Directly following the meeting at the American Legion Headquarters,
1608 K St., NW, Washington, D.C., represenatives from veterans
organizations will offer their remarks during a press conference and be
available for individual interviews.
To attend the press conference, please contact the American Legion
Media Relations Office for press credentials by 4 p.m., Wednesday, Nov.
The American Legion is the largest wartime veterans service
organization with 2.2 million members in more than 13,000 posts in
communities across America. The Legion, established by an act of
Congress in 1919, was instrumental in getting the original GI Bill
through Congress and the creation of the Department of Veterans