Friday, May 05, 2006

It's About Time

The chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Larry Craig (R-ID), is sponsoring a bill that would rescind a rule dating from the Civil War that prohibits attorneys from being paid more than $10 to assist veterans with claims against the government.

The Army Times has the story on the particulars of SB 2694, the Veterans’ Choice of Representation Act.

I urge everyone to contact your senators and urge them to get behind this bill. It's long overdue, and veterans have too long been left to the whims of the VA and the biases of the various VSOs, such as the American Legion and the VFW (both of whom would be, let us say, less than charitable towards radical veterans such as yours truly).

"This overdue change will significantly improve veterans’ access to the VA and expedite just outcomes," said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is cosponsoring the bill with Craig.

Amen to that. And props to these two Republicans who are willing to buck the tide when it comes to veterans' needs that have been up to now ignored by their cohorts in the party in power.

Cynic that I am, I am sure it being an election year has absolutely nothing to do with it...


Puma said...

You gotta be fucking kidding me. That is the rule??? TEN DOLLARS???

The only people that rule should applyl to should be sitting Presidents, congressmen, and senators.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the bill, and I'm no senator but I'd be willing to bet that any given senator hasn't read the bill either, and that his or her staff could probably care less (except for Carl Levin, on the Armed forces Committee).

What I am hearing from your blog is that it is a situation where legal representation is unavailable as attorneys are not paid under the current statute. That being the case, I would agree to raise the limits so that representation may be had and veterans assisted. Who cares if the bill is $10 or $100,000? if the government is willing to pay $10 in the civil war era, they should be willing to foot the bill in todays moneyies, PERIOD.

Anonymous said...

Getting ANY money for veterans out this incompetent sleazy bunch is like squeezing water out of a rock.
Yeah, this is the party that supports the troops, all right. Right up to the point where they become inconvenient disabled reminders of the true cost of war.

QuestRepublic said...

Sounds good at first, BUT:

Where is the money coming from? Will the lawyer's fee come out of the veteran's pocket? That is the way it usually works in most other venues.

Will the VA system then be "instructed by Washington.." to pay more attention to claims that are pushed by PAY TO PLAY Lawyers? Then the vets still represented by (Free)VSOs will get pushed further back into the pending pile.

Think for a moment whether under this new system, Rich People would get faster access to your government than Poor People?

Why are there very few lawyers right noow that are experts at helping VA claimants when the claim is only at the administrative level? One Possible Answer might be that there is no financial incentive, even for RICH PEOPLE to use a lawyer, because MOST CLAIMS GET SETTLED at the Administrative Level and would not have been settled any faster with an attorney.

PS - I work for a State VSO, not the Legion or other fine member-organization. I have no incentive to keep vets going to FREE VSOs, EXCEPT a lifetime of WORKING with lawyers, in and out of government, leading me to believe that this proposal is probably not in the vet's best interest.