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Money for veteran event may be restored

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Wednesday, May 25th, 2011 at 4:27 pm in veterans.

McNerney

McNerney

A successful amendment passed today to a House defense authorization bill would restore federal dollars for East Bay Stand Down, an annual event in Pleasanton that provides aide to homeless military veterans.

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, authored the amendment.

Under the original version of the National Defense Authorization Act, according to McNerney’s office, funding was cut for innovative readiness training, the program that allowed military reservists to participate in East Bay Stand Down.

McNerney also authored a second successful amendment that requires coordinated credit counseling for active members of the military and their families.

Read on for McNerney’s full press release.

MCNERNEY AMENDMENT TO PROTECT EAST BAY STAND DOWN PASSES HOUSE

Second McNerney amendment encouraging better financial counseling for military families also passes House

Washington D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed a bipartisan amendment offered by Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-11) that will protect East Bay Stand Down from devastating funding cuts.  East Bay Stand Down is a biennial event held in Pleasanton to provide services to veterans, many of whom are homeless.  The event, which takes place over a series of days at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, connects veterans to medical, dental, mental health, and employment services, among others.

“East Bay Stand Down is about walking the walk – and not just talking the talk – when it comes to helping veterans,” said Rep. McNerney.  “This event offers practical services, such as medical care and mental health services, to veterans who are in need.  I’ve made it a point to volunteer my time at East Bay Stand Down and helped serve food at last year’s event.”

Many key services offered at East Bay Stand Down are provided by members of the Army and Navy Reserves.  At past Stand Down events, for example, members of the Army and Navy Reserves offered medical care and dental, optometry and mental health services to hundreds of veterans.

Funding that makes it possible for members of the Reserves to offer these services came under threat this week during debate on H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act.  The Republican Majority put forward a plan to cut funding for innovative readiness training (IRT) projects by 50%.  IRT is the initiative that enables members of the Reserves to participate in East Bay Stand Down and other projects.  Rep. McNerney’s amendment, which passed with bipartisan support, restores funding for IRT projects to current levels, protecting East Bay Stand Down and dozens of other projects across the country from devastating cuts.

“Cutting funding that East Bay Stand Down and other projects depend on is unacceptable,” said Rep. McNerney.  “That’s why I offered an amendment, passed with bipartisan support, to restore this funding to current levels.  Providing basic services to men and women who have served our country and are now homeless is simply the right thing to do.”

A second amendment offered by Rep. McNerney encourages the Secretary of Defense to work with the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to ensure that coordinated financial counseling is available for members of the Armed Forces and their families.

“Just last week I received a letter from a service member who is stationed in Afghanistan,” said Rep. McNerney.  “He shared with me that he is getting the run around from his credit card company.  This type of situation is appalling and should never happen.  My amendment will help our men and women in uniform to get fair and unbiased information about their financial options.”

Both amendments offered by Rep. McNerney passed the House by voice vote.  The amendment to protect East Bay Stand Down and similar programs was cosponsored by Reps. Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Don Young (R-AK).

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