Major VCS Accomplishments
Veterans for Common Sense has undertaken many initiatives working with a wide range of legislators, decision makers and other stakeholder groups. We have been proactive in improving and safeguarding veterans benefits and rights. We have also spoken out in support of policies that stand to improve America’s security and prosperity in the long term, ranging from energy independence to condemnation of torture and the appropriate use of smart power to further America’s interests.
Watch this Video Presentation about Veterans for Common Sense.
Policy Advocacy & Government Relations
Judicial Branch, Legal Action
VCS et al lawsuit, Veterans for Common Sense et al v. Peake. As a result of the lawsuit:
- VA enacted a national suicide hotline, 20,000 veterans saved
- VA instituted suicide prevention coordinators at VA hospitals
- VA mandated immediate appointments for urgent care
- Va mandated 14-day appointments for non-urgent care
Read more about the VCS lawsuit here: www.veteransptsdclassaction.org.
Executive Branch, VA Regulations
VCS regularly advocates for solutions to veterans issues with administration and VA decision makers.
- PTSD regulation, 2010
- TBI regulation, 2008
- Shorter claim form, 2010
- ALS regulation, 2008
- Gulf War illness regulation, 2011
- Supported Hire Our Heroes Act, 2011
- Two briefings to DoD leaders suicide and mental health, 2009 and 2010
- Issuance of condolence letters from POTUS, to military families of service members who commit suicide in theater
Legislative Branch, Testimony and legislation
VCS has often been involved in the formulation of the intent and language of components of proposed legislation, as well as engaging in policy advocacy to support existing legislation.
- GI Bill for the 21st Century, education benefits for Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans
- Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act 2008, Five years of free care for Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans
- Disability Benefits Improvement Act 2010, PL 110-389
- Testimony supporting VA healthcare reform (two-year budgeting)
- Testimony supporting increased funding for VA budget
- Testimony supporting increased funding for VA’s homeless veterans
- Testimony supporting increased funding for VA’s Gulf War Illness Research
- Assisted with drafting Care Givers Act to help veterans’ families
- Assisted with Camp Lejuene toxic exposures legislation
- Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act 2007
- VA Technology Improvement Act (funding to secure and improve data)
VCS uses primarily earned media to further policy goals. VCS has also used media interviews and public speaking engagements to raise awareness on a variety of issues important to veterans and americans in general.
- Helped expose the VA healthcare “secret lists” crisis in 2014.
- Helped expose the VA’s gutting of the VA Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses in 2013, which led to the introduction of legislation in 2014.
- For five years, generated a widely cited quarterly impact report quantifying the cost of “War on Terror”.
- “60 Minutes” on Claim Backlog of 1 million
- VA Bonus Scandal prompting hearings in 2007
- DoD / VA Walter Reed Army Medical Center Scandal, prompting hearings in 2007
- Blocking cuts to VA funding, New York Times, several articles, 2011
- Public relations on national security issues
- Three-page story in Austin American-Statesman on cost of war, 2011
- Interviews on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, etc.
- Hundreds of other press interviews on various policy issues