Barack Obama: Veterans/Poverty Headlines and Video

Barack and Veterans Issues

Ok, I’m not trying to influence any votes here, nor run off any readers.  It’s just that I’m impressed with what I’ve heard said by Senator Obama regarding homelessness and veterans and what the press and veterans advocates have said.  I don’t know if you have seen them.   He does have the advantage of being a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committe.   I acknowledge that there are other important issues than veterans and homelessness to consider in a campaign, but that is what we are about here, so that is my focus.

I do have an couple of links to the Clinton side.  There is an equal-time segment at the bottom that will give you a look see between the top two Democratic candidates on veterans issues.   I may come back with more of this and feature a Republican or two later.  We will see how this plays out with my readers first.  Are you interested in politics?

BarackObamadotcom  (Video) Dinner with Barack Obama:  Four grassroots donors talk to Barack Obama about veterans and poverty during dinner.

I’ve mentioned Obama and Veterans in a previous post where he discusses his plan to improve veterans care and help get the homeless veterans off the streets as reported by a wire service.

Here are a few more headlines and links on this subject:


Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) today announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) denied health care to 8,944 Illinois veterans last year as part of a Bush Administration cost-cutting policy begun in 2003. Nationally, more than 260,000 veterans were denied access to VA hospitals, clinics and medications in Fiscal
Year 2005

Clinton v. Obama, Veterans Version

The tit-for-tat between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama has expanded to new territory:   veterans benefits.

This week, the “Commission on Care of America’s Wounded Warriors” issued recommendations for improving treatment for veterans who return injured from the front. Clinton and Obama responded the way members of Congress often do to government reports – with legislative language.  

(…)  explains different positions

Obama, McCaskill sponsor bill on care for veterans

Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) are sponsoring legislation to improve the lives of recovering veterans at Walter Reed, while Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), a cosponsor of the Obama-McCaskill legislation, said that he would explore ways to direct new funds to Walter Reed and make immediate improvements to its veteran housing.

Barack Obama Honors Sacrifice of America’s Veterans

Barack Obama has a record of helping the heroes who defend our nation today and the veterans who fought in years past. As a grandson of a World War II veteran who went to college on the G.I. Bill and a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, Obama has successfully reached out to Republicans and Democrats to pass laws to combat homelessness among veterans, improve care for troops recovering from injuries, ease the transition of new veterans into society, and make the disability benefits process more equitable.

Veterans Issues  From Obama’s website

Homeless Veterans

Every year, 400,000 veterans across the country, including an estimated 38,000 in Chicago, spend some time living on the streets. Senator Obama has been a leader in fighting homelessness among veterans. He authored the Sheltering All Veterans Everywhere Act (SAVE Act) to strengthen and expand federal homeless veteran programs that serve over 100,000 homeless veterans annually. During the debate on the Fiscal Year 2007 budget, Senator Obama passed an amendment to increase funding for homeless veterans programs by $40 million. These funds would benefit programs that provide food, clothing, mental health and substance abuse counseling, and employment and housing assistance to homeless veterans.

Working with Senators Akaka and Craig, Senator Obama passed legislation in December 2006 to provide comprehensive services and affordable housing options to veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development and nonprofit organizations. This legislation was signed into law and is modeled on parts of the SAVE Act and the Homes for Heroes Act, a measure that Senator Obama had previously authored.

Benefits Disparities

The Bush Administration’s approach to handling veterans’ health care ignores the reality of increasing demands on the VA, and the additional burden placed on veterans. The Administration has established a means test for VA health care eligibility, and it has banned hundreds of thousands of veterans – some who make as little as $30,000 a year – from enrolling in the system. These changes affect both older and younger veterans, and Senator Obama has opposed them, fighting instead for greater funding for veterans’ health care.

Greater Funding for Veterans Health Care

In January 2007, Senator Obama reintroduced the Lane Evans Veterans Health and Benefits Improvement Act to improve the VA’s planning process to avoid budget shortfalls in the future. The bill requires the VA and the Department of Defense to work together and share data so that we know precisely how many troops will be returning home and entering the VA system.

Food for Recovering Soldiers

Senator Obama introduced an amendment that became law providing food services to wounded veterans receiving physical therapy or rehabilitation services at military hospitals. Previously, service members receiving physical therapy or rehabilitation services in a medical hospital for more than 90 days were required to pay for their meals.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Senator Obama fought a VA proposal that would have required a reexamination of all Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) cases in which full benefits were granted. He and Senator Durbin passed an amendment that became law preventing the VA from conducting a review of cases, without first providing Congress with a complete report regarding the implementation of such review. In November 2005, the VA announced that it was abandoning its planned review.

Senator Obama passed an amendment to ensure that all service members returning from Iraq are properly screened for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). TBI is being called the signature injury of the Iraq war. The blast from improvised explosive devices can jar the brain, causing bruising or permanent damage. Concussions can have huge health effects including slowed thinking, headaches, memory loss, sleep disturbance, attention and concentration deficits, and irritability.

Easing the Transition to the VA

Senator Obama passed an amendment that became law requiring the Department of Defense (DOD) to report to Congress on the delayed development of an electronic medical records system compatible with the VA’s electronic medical records system. DOD’s delay in developing such a system has created obstacles for service members transitioning into the VA health care system.

Part of the Lane Evans Veterans Health and Benefits Improvement Act, which Senator Obama reintroduced in January 2007, would help veterans transition from the DOD health system to the VA system by extending the window in which new veterans can get mental health care from two years to five years. The Lane Evans bill also would improve transition services for members of the National Guard and Reserves.

For Equal Time’s sake:

Compare Senator Obama’s site with Senator Clinton’s site, both on Veterans Issues.


12 responses to “Barack Obama: Veterans/Poverty Headlines and Video

  1. David H. Marshall

    TBI AND?

    Why doesn’t Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) also include a “stress reaction” that “may repeat endlessly”, i.e., a lifetime of nausea and vertigo attacks? The TBI results of blast over pressurization are defined by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC). Included are the known since 1861, now 146 years of medical lessons learned, symptoms of this veteran’s awarded Menieres Disease but not its “stress reaction” attacks.


    Oldtimer’s comment: I think that this is a valid question that I am not qualified to answer. He has been diagnosed with Menier’s Disease (which is an inner ear related problem including loss of hearing, vetigo, and nausea with no known cause). If I read the remainder of David’s multi-page comment, it is mostly documentation of his own experience as a volunteer tester of aircraft engine over- pressurization, specifically to exposure to afterburner sound pressure without ear protection that occurred in 1952 or 1953 resulting in an 8 day hospitalization and the VA’s evaluation and disclaimer of a 4 day cold. As a past employee of an aircraft company, I know a little of what he is talking about regarding stress during such encounters with jet engine noise while not properly protected. Every fiber in your body shakes with the shock waves. Assuming that there might be TBI associated with or overlaying the symptoms of Menier’s Disease, he has a point in which the symptoms of the disease might obscure the syptoms of TBI. Is the stress of overpressurization similar to the stess of IED overpressurazation and trauma? If so it could trigger TBI

  2. The VA PTSD treatment is the EXACTLY the same as the VA’s drug and alcohol program…EXACTLY! What’s with that?

  3. It is all AA/NA and lots of medications and group therapy. The VAs model for for treatment is to drive the veterans nuts or to suicide so they don’t come back. At least that is what happened to my brother.

  4. What a flashback. My lil’bro was screaming his lungs out trying to tell everyone about the required AA 12 step in order to get help for his TBI. His left ear and part of his cheek was messed up. The Veteran’s Admin left him in the
    some filthy rescue mission to take care of his drinking problem. He was 19 and never drank anything, we never drank in our famile-ever. The last thing he said before he blew his head off is “I am not an alcoholic”. They would not believe this hero, how many others are called alcoholics and require treatment for nonexisting ailments? This is getting huge.

  5. I’m starting to think the homeless veterans have been duped. I was reading in an earlier post that the VA classifies 70% of the homeless veterans as alcoholic. Just that fact means the vet is in for years and years of nonsense. The VA employees are the drug addicts and alcoholics to make a claim like that. I guess when the homeless veteran fills out a form that asks “Have you ever drank alcohol?” the veteran is put in a detox program and their life is over as they have known. Too bad the citizen’s believe that. I’ve seen homeless vets but they are never drunk just dirty and alone.

  6. Great Site! I’m a cleck at the VA and see the same veterans recycled through over and over. You know what? 95% of the veterans always say the need decent housing (not rescue mission) and training for a job. The VA is all about substance abuse and mental programs. Very few veterans participate in the CWT program and a very small percentage get full-time low wage janitorial positions. I am shocked the veterans ,after walking through the doors, are not provided with a room, ASAP training/ jobs, and a realistic plan for moving on. Instead the veterans linger in homelessness for sometime years “in recovery” Recovery from what? It is quite a shame that when the veteran comes through the door the staff does not jump up and say we can and will help you. I’m also confused as to why every veteran has to go through the same groups. The PTSD are required to go through AA, the mental people have to go through AA. Why?

  7. The VA will never do that because then there would be no homeless veterans Cathy. And the veterans would be happy and have real jobs that pay living wages with real health care. The VA requires every veteran to convert to the 12 step religion or it’s back to the street to suffer. This is true!

  8. I’m camping outside because I need to attend community college. I’ve had a lifetime of dead low paid jobs that never lead to anywhere. No place will let me stay, get a student loan, and thrive. Everything the others have written is so true. Two years living on the Columbia River and four years of no work. I guess this is the real reason the veterans are commiting suicide and has nothing to do with being sick in the head.

  9. the va has denied my nsc pension and have used me working in CWT compensated work therapy as a demonstration of employability…..i have heard that the cwt is actually therapy and the va cannot use cwt employment as a basis for claim denial….can anyone point me to where it is documentated that cwt cannot be considered employment? thank you

  10. Hopefully when he’s President all of the issues will just dwindle away.

  11. KennyS, CWT is the program the VA uses to prove you can do something and if you can sweep a floor YOU ARE NOT DISABLED and DENIED!

  12. Dear Sir.
    there should be some kind of cut off on the V.A. means test, I am 75, not gettering better and richer, I am getting older and broker, I dont mind paying co-paments for ever thing i get but i cannot get my means test filled out because of a personal problen with my wife, she wont allow me to use her information, not because she has anything, however something should be done.
    thanks LEH

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