Party Resolutions

Resolution 2007-031: Support our Veterans

Sponsored by: Bart Bolger, Ann Gaidos-Morgan Approved: 07/01/2007


A RESOLUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON TO SUPPORT OUR TROOPS AND VETERANS WHEREAS, over 25,000 servicemen and women have been “reported” wounded and countless others have suffered service-connected physical injuries and from mental health disorders which will profoundly affect the veteran’s quality of life, family relationships and employment opportunities, and WHEREAS, as of April, 2007 over 80,000 Guard and Reserve personnel remained mobilized and over 635,000 service members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have left the military , and WHEREAS, since 2004 the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking VA Vet Center (“readjustment counseling center”) care has more than doubled, while Vet Center staffing has increased by less than 10 percent, and WHEREAS, a coalition of veterans support organizations including American Veterans (AMVETS), VFW, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) estimates that the President’s Budget for 2008 falls $2.1 billion short of VA requirements , and WHEREAS, the VA disability claim backlog is over 600,000 and growing rapidly with claims processing exceeding six months for 63 percent of applicants at one center (Washington, DC) , and WHEREAS, according to the AMVETS commander, “wounded service personnel are having to endure an extremely long and complex bureaucratic process to transition from the [DoD] health care system to the VA health care system,” and WHEREAS, according to the IAVA, “unemployment among new young veterans is three times the national average, and thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, many with families, are already turning up in homeless shelters,” : NOW, THEREFORE, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. We support our troops, our veterans and their families. The U.S. Government should stand by commitments it made to provide the health care and transition assistance promised our troops when they enlisted. Section 2. Health Care. Congress should make VA health care funding mandatory spending, adjusted annually for inflation and demand. A. VA Vet Centers and outpatient clinics must be adequately staffed and those veterans not located close enough to VA clinics must be afforded timely local VA-contracted medical care. All war zone veterans’ health care benefits eligibility should be extended from two to five years, regardless of current duty or civilian status. B. Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions should be prohibited immediately while awaiting results of legislated health effects studies . DU testing, screening and tracking should begin immediately on those with even the slightest risk of prior exposure. C. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) research, testing, counseling and treatment should be given priority funding due to the potentially grave nature of these conditions and the large number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans affected. Section 3. Veterans Transition Assistance. Active-duty, Guard and Reserve veterans deserve better assistance to transition to civilian life. A. VA disability claims must be processed in a timely fashion and disability ratings must be commensurate with projected impact on future employment. Disability compensation should be increased annually using the Consumer Price Index without an act of Congress. B. A new G.I. Bill is needed to improve veterans’ education opportunities and ability to reintegrate into the civilian work force. C. Tax credits and other incentives should be offered employers who hold jobs for deployed Guard and Reserve members or who hire returning veterans. D. The homeless veterans crisis must be mitigated by increasing federal grants to local homeless housing programs. Special attention is required to provide transitional and permanent housing for disabled vets. Section 4. The Oregon State Legislature and the Oregon Congressional delegation should support legislation that accomplishes the above enhanced veterans support. ADOPTED by the Benton County Democratic Central Committee on the 17th day of May, 2007. Resolution submitted by Bart Bolger and Ann Gaidos-Morgon, SCC delegate for Benton County. Resolution submitted for approval by the PRC on June 24, 2007

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Resolution 2007-032: Immediate Withdrawal from Iraq