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ND Veterans Affairs News: Federal

The House voted Wednesday to cut workplace protections for Department of Veterans Affairs employees and extend their probationary period, making it easier to fire new staffers.

The “VA Accountability Act of 2015” was approved with a 256 – 170 vote, largely, though not strictly, along party lines, despite a White House veto threat.

The remains of three-dozen U.S. Marines missing in action during World War II were brought back to U.S. territory on Sunday in the largest single recovery of U.S. MIAs.

The 36 Marines were listed as missing in action at the World War II Battle of Tarawa and repatriated during Sunday’s ceremony, held at Pearl Harbor. Among them was 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr., a recipient of the Medal of Honor, reports Hawaii news channel KHON2.

WASHINGTON — Veterans who suffered sexual assault or other sexual abuse while in uniform would get help more easily from the Department of Veterans Affairs under a bill approved Monday by the House.

The bill would allow a statement by a survivor of military sexual trauma to be considered sufficient proof that an assault occurred. The House approved the bill by voice vote Monday night.

Decades after the end of the U.S. war in Vietnam, more than one in 10 American veterans from the conflict still experience at least some symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, according to a new study.

One third of veterans with PTSD also suffer from major depressive disorder, the research team reports in JAMA Psychiatry.

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Veterans Affairs may have to shut down some hospitals next month if Congress does not address a $2.5 billion shortfall for the current budget year, VA officials warned Monday.

The VA told Congress that it needs to cover shortfalls caused by an increased demand by veterans for health care, including costly treatments for hepatitis C. The agency also is considering furloughs, hiring freezes and other steps to close a funding gap for the budget year that ends Sept. 30.

If you are a veteran and looking for a job or are interested in exploring new careers or educational opportunities, come to the largest veterans career fair in Minnesota with 125 of Minnesota's best employers with current job openings.

Wednesday, July 15th 
10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. 

Veterans Career Fair 
10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 
Earle Brown Heritage Center 
6155 Earle Brown Drive 
Brooklyn Center, MN 

Unemployment for post-9/11 veterans in June held steady at the near-record low of the previous month, 5.4 percent, government data show.

As a whole, the nation added 223,000 jobs last month, with the overall unemployment rate dipping to 5.3 percent, down from the 5.5 percent recorded in May, according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics.

June marks only the third month in history with an unemployment rate for the latest generation of vets below 5.5 percent. May 2015, also with a 5.4 percent rate, was the second, and May 2014, with a record 5.3 percent rate, was the first.

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today published a new regulation that expands eligibility for some benefits for a select group of Air Force Veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange through regular and repeated contact with contaminated C-123 aircraft that had been used in Vietnam as part of Operation Ranch Hand (ORH).VA published this regulation as an interim final rule so that it could immediately begin providing benefits to eligible Air Force veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who submit a disability compensation cl

WASHINGTON-Dozens of South Dakotans visited the nation’s capitol to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for themselves on Wednesday.

The Vietnam Memorial wall has more than 58-thousand names of men and women who died in the war.

“There’s 7 coasties on the wall that i make a point looking up i didn’t know them, i didn’t serve with them but being in that small branch of service it’s an obligation to pay my respects,” said veteran Edward Timm.

Sam's Club has a new offer for new and renewing military members. The promotion offers new Sam's Club members and current members eligible for renewal one FREE Rotisserie Chicken, one package of Reser's Main St. Bistro Gourmet Macaroni, one package of Daily Chef cookies, and a $15 gift card.

This offer is valid for active military, veterans, military personnel and military spouses. Must show proof of military service, and be 18 or older.

The offer is available May 1 - 31, 2015.

WASHINGTON -- First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are scheduled to travel to New Orleans Monday April 20) to recognizes the city's efforts to combat veterans' homelessness, the White House announced Tuesday.

Obama and Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, are scheduled to appear with Mayor Mitch Landrieu to discuss the city's efforts to find housing for veterans and how other cities might learn from New Orleans progress, according to White House officials.

WASHINGTON — A handful of World War II veterans were the center of attention Wednesday at a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the long, fierce Battle of Okinawa. At the National World War II Memorial in the nation’s capital, a wreath was presented to honor the 183,000 allied servicemembers who fought in the 82-day struggle on Okinawa that began April 1, 1945.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Trista Matascastillo remembers arriving at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center in 2010 for an exam and thinking the hospital didn't quite get the needs of female veterans.

The exam room, for instance, opened onto the patient waiting area, she said. She had to ask that the door be closed. It was a tiny detail, one Matascastillo said staff fixed quickly. But the 16-year veteran keeps the story close by now that she is part of an effort to help the center improve care for women.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter plans to push a series of proposals, including a 401(k)-style pension plan and incentives for cyber warriors, aimed at attracting and retaining troops with the skills needed to fight modern wars.

Carter, who took office last month, intends to move quickly to enact changes before the Obama administration leaves the White House in early 2017, according to a senior aide who was not authorized to speak publicly. Carter has identified building a new force capable of dealing with new threats and retaining top performers as a key priority.

Military veterans who served since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are more likely to be unemployed than their peers involved in earlier conflicts. The jobless rate for the most recent group of veterans was 7.2% in 2014, the Labor Department said this week. The figure is down from 9% in 2013—matching with steady improvement in the overall labor market—but remains elevated compared with other jobless measures. The jobless rate for all veterans was 5.3% last year.

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