Open letter to Senator Murray
The answer will be sent if one is received.
315 93rd Ave., S.W.
Olympia, WA 98512
Tel: (360) 352-8564
Honorable Patty Murray
United States Senate
Attn: Ed O’Neil
Re: Veterans Voting Bloc
Dear Senator Murray:
The Veterans Voting Bloc is a grass roots organization of veterans and their friends, which is interested in supporting candidates who promote issues of importance to servicemen and veterans. Our group is been working for the passage of several bills of great importance to veterans, and we are disappointed in the progress in Congress and the opposition to some of them by the Bush Administration. As a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, your support is of special importance. We would like you to actively promote the necessary reforms we seek and are asking for your opinions and suggestions for achieving the following goals before November 2004:
1. As Senator Cantwell already informed us, the Senate has passed a bill permitting concurrent receipt of disability and retirement pay for retired military personnel. This is an unfair tax that requires those who were injured during at least 20 years of active military service to pay for their own disability. President Bush has threatened to veto any law eliminating this tax. If we succeed in getting the House to pass a bill to fund concurrent receipt, will you work to override a threatened veto by President Bush?
2. Do you see a possibility that free medical care for retired members of the armed forces and their spouses will be restored before the end of this session of Congress?
3. Do you see a possibility for this session of Congress to limit the time for processing applications for benefits filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs to six months and the appeal process to another six months?
4. Do you see a possibility for Congress to eliminate the Feres doctrine before the end of the session, thereby permitting servicemen and veterans to sue if they are injured through medical malpractice in a government-run facility? At the present time, the complete immunity from consequences for malpractice attracts doctors to government service who realize that their skill does not meet minimum standards for their profession.
5. Do you see a possibility that the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act will be reformed before the end of this session? Now, this law permits divorced partners to continue to take large sums of money from their former serviceman or servicewoman spouses, even after they remarry? It also gives them automatic increases in their support payments whenever the former spouse is promoted. You can see how a marriage swindler could build up an enormous lifetime income simply by marrying a successive series of service personnel and collecting about half of the salary of each after successive divorces.
These five issues are presently of primary concern to the members of the Veterans’ Voting Bloc. Will you give us your support on all of these vital issues?
Charles W. Heckman, Dr. Sci.
Washington State Coordinator