Top Legislative Accomplishments
Your TAPS Policy Team is extremely busy advocating for our surviving families! We testify before Congress and submit statements for the record on important survivor issues. TAPS also advocates for our surviving families through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Federal Advisory Committee on Veterans' Families, Caregivers, and Survivors and Chairs the Survivor Subcommittee. We continue to brief leadership at the White House, VA, Department of Defense (DoD), and all government agencies impacting survivors.
Gold Star Rembrance Week
TAPS worked with Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA-04) on the Gold Star Families Remembrance Week resolution (September 19 to 25), which recognizes the families of all military personnel who died while serving or from a service-connected injury or illness. TAPS led efforts to ensure this inclusive resolution guarantees that no surviving military family is forgotten.
Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) Act Unanimously passes Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
After two years of tireless work by TAPS and fellow TEAM Coalition, this landmark bill, introduced by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), will improve healthcare and benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxic substances. An important first step to passing comprehensive toxic exposure legislation, with potential impact to 2.7 million service members who have deployed since 9/11.
Toxic Exposure at Karshi-Khanabad (K2) Air Base, Uzbekistan Study Signed into Law
TAPS and fellow TEAM members helped pass this critical legislation, which requires the Secretary of Defense to conduct a study on toxic exposure of service members stationed at K2 Air Base between 2001-2005. More than 15,000 veterans may have been exposed to toxicants at the base.
Three New Agent Orange Diseases Added to VA List of Presumptive Service-Connection
Congress passed the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which became law on January 1, 2021. Roughly 34,000 Vietnam-era Veterans diagnosed with hypothyroidism, bladder cancer, or Parkinson’s-like symptoms will now have access to disability compensation and health care services. TAPS advocated for this long overdue improvement.
The Commander John Scott Hannon veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act Signed into Law
TAPS proudly support this groundbreaking bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), which improves mental health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and include grants to groups outside of the VA that are focused on helping veterans. Nearly 18 veterans die by suicide every had of those 11 veterans are not receiving treatment or care from the VA.
COVID-19 Benefits for Active Duty Servicemembers, the Reserve Components, and their Survivors Act of 2020
This importantlegislation, spearheaded by TAPS, expands survivor benefits for National Guard members who are activated under federal orders in response to COVID-19. As many as 96,521 National Guard troops have been activate for COVID-19, civil unrest, and natural disasters.
Cheryl Lankford Memorial Act Included in National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and Signed into Law
The amendment introduced by Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN-3) and Dr. Phil Roe (R-TN-1), ensures that Casualty Assistance Officers are assigned to dependent children in the case a surviving spouse subsequently passes. TAPS spearheaded this initiative, which will benefit thousands of current and future military surviving families.
Fry Scholarship Improvement Act Passes Congress
TAPS led this effort impacting over 1,000 surviving spouses and children of National Guard and Reserve who will see increased education benefits.
If you have questions about our work on legislation and policy for military survivors, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.