Michigan Legion Update for Feb 16th, 2012

Today is Feb 16th, 2012
Welcome to the Michigan Legion Update

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday Legionnaires from all over Michigan will gather in Flint Michigan for their Annual Winter Meeting.  Friday we will welcome our Special guest for the weekend, National Commander Fang Wong at the evening’s Commanders banquet.  Commander Wong will be with us all weekend.
The President of the United States released his budget for 2013, Commander Wong had comments released by The American Legion.  Be mindful that the US Senate has not passed a budget for the over 3 years, the government has been working from continuous budget resolutions all this time. 
American Legion to DoD: Budget Breaks Promise
Pointing out that President Obama just pledged a month ago to "keep our Armed Forces the best-trained, best led, best-equipped fighting force in history," the top leader of The American Legion warned that if the administration's 2013 defense budget is enacted, America will once again return to a hollow force.
"To keep the best fighting force, you must recruit and retain the best people," National Commander Fang Wong said. "By increasing, and in some cases, quadrupling health insurance fees for military retirees, you are sending a powerful message to those in uniform and to their families that their decades of service and sacrifice are unappreciated. Moreover, most believe that the Retirement Modernization Commission that this budget recommends will lead to a 401(K)-type plan, which will encourage people to leave the military for a safer and less demanding career in the private sector. –Grandfathering' benefit cuts merely tells tomorrow's veterans that their service isn't as valuable as those who served before them."
The budget for 2013 represents an 8 percent cut from 2012. In October, the 2.4 million member American Legion passed a national resolution which called on Congress and the White House to "cease all efforts to reduce the defense budget from its current level."
Wong, a Vietnam War veteran, added that he fully understands the fiscal realities that Washington faces. "America has a debt crisis," he said. "But no debt is higher than what America owes its veterans, who already sacrificed years of service, lost family time, physical injury and the comforts of home so that the other 90 percent of Americans can continue to live in freedom. Throughout our nation's history, every time we cut defense we paid for it with American blood."
Although U.S. forces have left Iraq, Wong pointed out that Iran, North Korea and international terrorism remain as threats to American interests. "Our men and women in the military have performed magnificently over the last decade. We must not return to a pre-9/11 mentality and be victimized by their past success in defending us."
The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.
VA Budget Gets Mixed Reviews
Grateful that the Obama administration’s VA budget avoids the draconian cuts that are facing the Pentagon, the leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization called the 2013 plan for the department “better than a Valentine, but well-short of Christmas.”
“More than 1 million active-duty servicemembers will join the ranks of 22 million civilian veterans during the next five years,” American Legion National Commander Fang A.Wong said. “We must have a budget that is prepared to recognize their outstanding service by meeting their needs for health care, jobs, housing and education. For the most part, this $140.3 billion budget does that.” 

Commander Wong praised the creation of the Veterans Job Corps program, but questions the budget for construction projects in the VA system.  Several facilities are in need of repair and completion. 

Contact your representative and let them know how you feel about the budget.  Get involved and remember to register to vote for the upcoming elections.
Thank you for listening to the Michigan Legion Update for February 16th 2012

The American Legion Department of Michigan represents over 70,000 members in the State of Michigan. The American Legion was founded in 1919, based on “The Four Pillars”; veteran rehabilitation, Americanism, child welfare, and national security and continued above all its mission as a consumers’ advocate for veterans. For more information contact the Michigan Legion at 517-371-4720 ext 16, mark@michiganlegion.org, or visit our website at www.michiganlegion.org.


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