A Message From Our Congresswoman

posted by Dr. James G. Hood
Sunday, May 30, 2010

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rogers sends a memorial day greeting.  She represents our 5th congressional district in eastern Washington.

Friends,

This Memorial Day, many Americans will be celebrating with family barbecues and picnics, attending parades, and laying remembrances at cemeteries.  Whatever your plans, please join me in remembering the brave men and women who fought and continue to fight for our freedom.

On Memorial Day – Monday, May 31 – I will be attending the dedication ceremony for the first state veterans cemetery in Medical Lake.  For several years, I worked with local veterans to secure a state cemetery in our area, and then last year, I was pleased when the VA Department awarded an $8.8 million grant to reimburse Washington State for expansion of the Medical Lake cemetery that will serve 90,000 veterans and their families.  I am also the co-sponsor of legislation that would make family burial in state veteran cemeteries more affordable.  Currently, federal cemeteries receive a $300 benefit to cover a portion of the burial for veterans and their families.  The legislation I am cosponsoring, H.R. 2594, would provide the same benefit for burial in state cemeteries.

On Saturday, June 5, I will be hosting our fourth annual Veterans and Military Family Resources Fair in Spokane to help make sure our veterans and military families know about the programs, benefits, services, jobs, and resources available to them.  Details on both of these events are below.

I also wanted to mention that – as a member of the House Armed Service Committee – I worked with my colleagues to secure key provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that will benefit Eastern Washington’s troops, military spouses, and families with special needs.  The amendments I introduced – which were included in the bill that passed the House on May 28 – will do the following?

·         Study the progress of the Office of Community Support for Military Families with Special Needs: This study will follow up on the provision in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that created the office for military families with special needs.

·         Ask the Government Accountability Office to evaluate what each military service is doing to help the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP): This study will evaluate the aspects and implementation of EFMP programs and make recommendations on how to improve and standardize the progress across all services.

·         Ask the DOD to give Congress insight on how the Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury is using virtual technology to engage service members and their families.

·         Express the Sense of Congress that local schools should acknowledge and adhere to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for military families with special needs as they move from one base to another.

I also co-sponsored two bills to protect our national security.  One of the amendments requires the Administration to develop and report to Congress a National Military Strategic Plan to deal with Iran’s defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons.  The other amendment exempts critical combat enablers from the President’s authorized troop surge of 30,000 troops to Afghanistan.  This means that no force protection, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance mission (ISR), or medical evacuation capability should be denied to our troops in harm’s way simply because of a perceived troop cap.

The 2011 NDAA includes a 1.9 percent pay raise for service members, which is above the Obama Administration’s request of 1.4 percent.

I am committed to working on behalf of all who have served our country to make sure they receive the services, care, and benefits that they’ve earned.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those continuing to serve, and to the families who paid the ultimate price to secure our freedom. Let us not forget their sacrifices amongst the fun and fanfare of this spring weekend, and continue to honor their memory this Memorial Day.

Sincerely,
Cathy

P.S.: Don’t forget to join me at these events!

Monday, May 31

10:30 am-12:00 pm

Veterans’ Cemetery Dedication

Medical Lake

The cemetery grounds are north of West Medical Lake off West Espanola Rd.  Parking will be available along Ritchey Road. In addition, shuttle service will be provided from off-site park­ing lots at Northern Quest Casino, Medical Lake High School, and Denny’s Foods.

Veterans and Military Family Resource Fair

Saturday, June 5

9:30 am-1 pm

Washington State University -Spokane

Riverpoint Campus

412 East Spokane Falls Boulevard

At 10:30, during the Veterans and Military Family Resource Fair, please join me for a Veterans and Military town hall.

Best Wishes,Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Member of Congress



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