Baldwin campaign: Leah Vukmir politicizes veterans’ health care

RECAP: Despite the repeated calls of Wisconsin veterans and the family of the late U.S. Marine veteran Jason Simcakoski, Leah Vukmir has continued to politicize Jason’s death and lie about Tammy Baldwin’s record of supporting veterans and reforming the VA.

THE TRUTH:

  • The Simcakoski family and Wisconsin veterans have asked Leah Vukmir to stop politicizing veterans.
  • Tammy Baldwin is doing right by our veterans by working across party lines to hold the VA accountable, fight against VA privatization and make sure that veterans have the community support and good paying jobs that they have earned and deserve.

TAMMY’S RECORD:

Jason’s Law: Tammy worked closely with the Simcakoski family, Republicans and Democrats, veterans service organizations and medical professionals, to craft bipartisan legislation named in honor of U.S. Marine Jason Simcakoski to hold the VA accountable and help stop the overprescribing of opioids at the VA.

Jason’s Law is working — by strengthening the VA’s Opioid Safety Initiative, opioid prescribing rates have decreased significantly, dropping 41 percent. New guidelines and training exist for clinicians prescribing opioids at the VA, and there is a greater emphasis on alternatives to medication.

Tammy Baldwin also worked with Senator John McCain to introduce additional bipartisan VA prescribing reforms that build on Jason’s Law to confront the overmedication of veterans and prevent veteran suicides.

Improving Veterans’ Community Care: For veterans facing incredible frustrations and delays while looking for care in their own communities through the VA Choice Program, Tammy Baldwin championed a comprehensive reform to fix the broken VA Choice program, remove burdensome regulations, and put a veteran and their doctor at the center of health care decisions. Tammy also passed legislation ensuring that medical providers fired from the VA can’t treat veterans through the Choice Program.

Holding the VA Accountable: Reaching across the aisle, Tammy pushed to pass bipartisan protections for VA whistleblowers and new rules to allow the VA Secretary to fire bad actors who put our veterans in harm’s way.

BACKGROUND:

The Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act Updated Clinical Prescribing Guidelines, Mandated Training For Doctors, & Streamlined Oversight At The VA

June 2015: Baldwin Introduced The Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act. “Another step was taken to clear up veterans care issues at VA hospitals and clinics yesterday. Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin was joined at a press conference by the family of Wisconsin Marine Jason Simcakoski and representatives of veterans groups to introduce the Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act. The legislation is a bipartisan VA reform legislation aimed at providing safer and more effective pain management services to our nation’s veterans. Baldwin says the bill takes a common sense approach to address over-prescribing problems at the Veterans Administration. “It provides safer and more effective pain management services to our nation’s veterans. This bipartisan bill will give veterans and their families a stronger voice in their care by strengthening opioid prescribing guidelines and enhancing provider education and training.’” [WSAU, 6/25/2015]

  • Required VA And The Defense Department To Update Their Clinical Practice Guidelines For Opioid Therapy For Pain. “Baldwin’s proposed Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety bill would implement a number of safeguards to protect veterans and improve VA medical care. It would: require VA and the Defense Department to update their clinical practice guidelines for opioid therapy for pain; mandate training for VA doctors who prescribe opioids; and create pain management boards at each VA region that would oversee compliance of pain management practices at each VA facility. According to Baldwin, the legislation is needed to give medical professionals greater guidance for treating veterans with physical pain and mental health conditions and empower patients and family members to manage their care.” [Military Times, 6/16/2015]
  • Mandated Training For VA Doctors Who Prescribe Opioids. “Baldwin’s proposed Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety bill would implement a number of safeguards to protect veterans and improve VA medical care. It would: require VA and the Defense Department to update their clinical practice guidelines for opioid therapy for pain; mandate training for VA doctors who prescribe opioids; and create pain management boards at each VA region that would oversee compliance of pain management practices at each VA facility. According to Baldwin, the legislation is needed to give medical professionals greater guidance for treating veterans with physical pain and mental health conditions and empower patients and family members to manage their care.” [Military Times, 6/16/2015]
  • Created Pain Management Boards At Each VA Region That Would Oversee Compliance Of Pain Management Practices At Each VA Facility. “Baldwin’s proposed Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety bill would implement a number of safeguards to protect veterans and improve VA medical care. It would: require VA and the Defense Department to update their clinical practice guidelines for opioid therapy for pain; mandate training for VA doctors who prescribe opioids; and create pain management boards at each VA region that would oversee compliance of pain management practices at each VA facility. According to Baldwin, the legislation is needed to give medical professionals greater guidance for treating veterans with physical pain and mental health conditions and empower patients and family members to manage their care.” [Military Times, 6/16/2015]
  • Required VA To Develop Plans For Research And Incorporating Alternative Pain Management Therapies Into Treatment. “The bill also would require VA to develop plans for researching and incorporating alternative pain management therapies into treatment. While many VA hospitals and clinics offer alternative therapies like acupuncture, biofeedback, yoga, meditation and art therapy for pain management and behavioral health, programs are inconsistent across VA hospitals, Baldwin said.” [Military Times, 6/16/2015]

Headline: “Senator To VA: End Mindless Narcotics Prescriptions Now.” [Military Times, 6/16/2015]

Jason’s Law Was Signed Into Law As Part Of A Larger Opioid Bill

July 2016: President Obama Signed Into Law Bipartisan VA Reforms In The Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act. “A massive legislative package many lawmakers say will help curb the nation’s opioid epidemic, including Veteran’s Affairs reforms honoring Stevens Point Marine Corps veteran Jason Simcakoski, is headed to President Barack Obama’s desk. […] Both Baldwin’s bill and Rep. Ron Kind’s Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act are included in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA, made up of 12 total bills.” [WSAW, 7/13/2016]

  • Baldwin’s Reforms Were Included As Part Of The Comprehensive Addiction And Recovery Act (CARA). “A massive legislative package many lawmakers say will help curb the nation’s opioid epidemic, including Veteran’s Affairs reforms honoring Stevens Point Marine Corps veteran Jason Simcakoski, is headed to President Barack Obama’s desk. […] Both Baldwin’s bill and Rep. Ron Kind’s Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act are included in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA, made up of 12 total bills.” [WSAW, 7/13/2016]
  • Opioid Prescribing Rates At The VA Have Decreased 41% Since 2012. “WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs began posting publicly for the first time Thursday the opiate prescribing rates at VA medical centers across the country. They range from a low of 3 % percent of prescriptions issued at VA hospitals in Cleveland and San Juan, Puerto Rico, to a high of 20% at the VA in Roseburg, Ore. “Many Veterans enrolled in the VA health-care system suffer from high rates of chronic pain and the prescribing of opioids may be necessary medically,” VA Secretary David Shulkin said in a statement. “And while VA offers other pain-management options to reduce the need for opioids, it is important that we are transparent on how we prescribe opioids, so veterans and the public can see what we are doing in our facilities and the progress we have made over time.” The data show that nearly every VA decreased its opioid prescription rates since 2012. The VA said that agency-wide, the overall rate has dropped 41% percent.” [USA Today, 1/11/2018]

The Simcakoski Family Have Called For Leah Vukmir To Stop Politicizing The Death Of Jason And Making False Attacks Against Tammy Baldwin

Journal Sentinel: Linda And Marv Simcakoski “Called On Others To Stop Politicizing Their Son’s Death.” “The parents and widow of a U.S. Marine veteran who died at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center are appearing in television ads released Thursday to support Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin. […] In an ad, Linda and Marv Simcakoski recount their son’s story — he was a platoon leader who suffered a head injury — and called on others to stop politicizing their son’s death.” [Journal Sentinel, 09/27/2018]

  • Journal Sentinel: “Marv Simcakoski Said: ‘When I See These Ads Attacking Senator Baldwin, I Just Want To Say “Stop.”’” “The parents and widow of a U.S. Marine veteran who died at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center are appearing in television ads released Thursday to support Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin. […] Marv Simcakoski said: ‘When I see these ads attacking Senator Baldwin, I just want to say “Stop.” ‘This isn’t politics,’ Linda Simcakoski said. ‘We’re trying to help the veterans, and that is what Tammy Baldwin is doing. She’s just a good person.’” [Journal Sentinel, 09/27/2018]

Associated Press: Jason Simcakoski’s Parents “Call For Attacks Against Baldwin On Tomah To Stop.” “The parents and widow of a Marine veteran who died at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center appear in a pair of television ads that debuted Thursday praising Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin and calling attacks against her ‘shameful.’ […] Simcakoski’s parents are in one new Baldwin ad and his widow is in another . In both, they praise Baldwin for working with them to enact a law that toughened opioid prescription guidelines. They also call for attacks against Baldwin on Tomah to stop.” [Associated Press, 09/27/2018]

The Cap Times: “Linda Simcakoski Describes Baldwin As A ‘Good Person’ And Says She Wants The Ads Attacking Her Record On Veterans To Stop.” “On Thursday, Baldwin’s campaign released two ads featuring the parents and widow of Jason Simcakoski, a Marine veteran who died of an overdose at the Tomah VA in 2014. In one ad, Simcakoski’s parents, Marv and Linda, remember their son’s time in the Marines and talk about the injury for which he’d sought treatment at the VA. ‘They gave him way too much meds. When I confronted the doctor, she told me that I may know how to pound nails and build houses, but I don’t know anything about taking care of my son,’ Marv Simcakoski says in the ad. Linda Simcakoski describes Baldwin as a ‘good person’ and says she wants the ads attacking her record on veterans to stop.” [The Cap Times, 09/27/2018]

  • Heather Simcakoski: “When I See These Attack Ads Against Tammy Baldwin, Using Jason’s Death, I Think It’s Shameful.” “In a second ad, Simcakoski’s widow, Heather, talks about meeting her husband in the Marine Corps, and how he changed after being prescribed a cocktail of narcotics at Tomah. ‘I believe that you love somebody like that one time. And I felt like that was taken from me. No other family should ever have to go through what we went through,’ Heather Simcakoski says in the ad. Heather Simcakoski says her family has worked with Baldwin to pass legislation in Jason’s honor that requires VA employees prescribing opioids to be better trained and to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines. ‘When I see these attack ads against Tammy Baldwin, using Jason’s death, I think it’s shameful,’ she says.” [The Cap Times, 09/27/2018]

Baldwin Partnered With John McCain On Legislation To Confront Rates Of Veteran Suicide

Baldwin Partnered With John McCain On Legislation To Confront Rates Of Veteran Suicide. “Baldwin didn’t want to weigh in on the controversy, but noted that she and McCain have partnered on three major bills, including one to reduce prescription drug prices and another ‘to confront the high rate of veteran suicides, focusing on the intersection with the opioid epidemic. I sometimes agree and sometimes disagree with John McCain but I feel that he has been such a fierce and independent member of the United States Senate and where I have had an opportunity to partner with him on important efforts, it has been a joy to work with him,’ Baldwin told the Los Angeles Blade on her way to the airport.” [Los Angeles Blade, 05/16/2018]

Baldwin Continues To Fight To Protect The VA From Privatization

Baldwin Opposed Special Interests Who Wanted To Privatize The VA. “Without naming Illinois resident Richard Uihlein, a big backer of Nicholson’s, or the political network controlled by the Koch brothers, Baldwin said the out-of-stoate billionaires ‘want someone to do their bidding in Washington.’ ‘Whether it’s taking people’s health care away, privatizing the VA, gutting Social Security and Medicare, or gifting even more tax breaks to the wealthy and well-connected,’ she said. ‘That’s why out-of-state special interests have made me their top target,’ she added.” [Journal Sentinel, 06/01/2018]

Baldwin Focused On Ensuring VA System Is “Strong And Accountable.” “In April of 2017, Trump signed a measure reauthorizing the Veterans Choice Program that allows former service members to get health care through private companies instead of traveling to a VA clinic. It’s a move Baldwin said she supported, adding that the system should be kept ‘strong and accountable.’ But she stopped short of endorsing further privatization. ‘We’ve had a lot of veterans call in complaining about scheduling appointments in the private sector that the VA reimburses for and uncertainty about emergency room reimbursements, whether they’ll be covered by the VA.’ Baldwin said services like that are important, especially in rural states. ‘I do think those are things that need to be worked out, but I do think veterans should have choices.’” [Wisconsin Public Radio, 03/29/2018]

Baldwin Helped Introduce The Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act Designed To Strengthen Opioid Safety In The VA Choice Program

WXOW: Senator Baldwin Helped Introduce The Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act Designed To Strengthen Opioid Safety In The VA Choice Program. New legislation today from Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin. It’s designed to strengthen opioid safety in the VA Choice Program. It addresses an issue not specific in earlier legislation known as “Jason’s Law.” That law is named for Jason Simcakowski, a Marine veteran from Stevens Point. In August 2014, Simcakowski died from what was described as mixed drug toxicity while he was receiving care at the Tomah V.A. Medical Center. Jason’s Law strengthened opioid prescribing guidelines at the V.A. According to a release from Senator Baldwin’s office, it also provided stronger oversight and accountability. And, it provided safer and more effective pain management services for vets. It became law last July. Specifically, the Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act would: “Direct VA to provide critical health information. . . including the latest opioid safety guidelines immediately to a non-VA provider when a veteran accesses services through a community care program. . .” [WXOW, 11/15/2017]

  • The Bill Would “Direct VA To Provide Critical Health Information. . . Including The Latest Opioid Safety Guidelines Immediately To A Non-VA Provider When A Veteran Accesses Services Through A Community Care Program.” “Specifically, the Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act would: ‘Direct VA to provide critical health information. . . including the latest opioid safety guidelines immediately to a non-VA provider when a veteran accesses services through a community care program. . .’” [WXOW, 11/15/2017]
  • The Bill Would “Require Non-VA Community Care Providers To Review The Updated VA/Dod Safe Opioid Prescribing Guidelines And Opioid Safety Initiative Protocols Prior To Delivering Care To A Veteran.” “Specifically, the Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act would: […] ‘Require non-VA community care providers to review the updated VA/DOD safe opioid prescribing guidelines and Opioid Safety Initiative protocols prior to delivering care to a veteran.’” [WXOW, 11/15/2017]
  • The Bill Would “Direct Non-Va Community Care Providers To Submit Opioid Medications They Prescribe To A Veteran To A Va Pharmacy For Dispensing.” “Specifically, the Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act would: […] ‘Direct non-VA community care providers to submit opioid medications they prescribe to a veteran to a VA pharmacy for dispensing and to ensure it is included in the VA database and the patient’s medical record for tracking.’” [WXOW, 11/15/2017]
  • The Bill Would “Ensure That Any Veteran With An Immediate Medical Need Or Who Is Unable To Obtain The Prescription At A VA Pharmacy Due To Travel Distances Or Undue Hardship May Access It At Another Pharmacy.” “Specifically, the Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act would: […] ‘Ensure that any veteran with an immediate medical need or who is unable to obtain the prescription at a VA pharmacy due to travel distances or undue hardship may access it at another pharmacy, and directs their community care provider to notify and provide information on the prescription to VA.’” [WXOW, 11/15/2017]
  • The Bill Would “Hold VA Accountable By Requiring Compliance Reports To Congress And Ensures That VA Can Take Action To Protect Veterans If A Non-VA Community Care Provider Is Not Delivering Safe Or Appropriate Care.” “Specifically, the Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act would: […] ‘Hold VA accountable by requiring compliance reports to Congress and ensures that VA can take action to protect veterans if a non-VA community care provider is not delivering safe or appropriate care.’” [WXOW, 11/15/2017]

Baldwin Cosponsored A Bipartisan Bill Aimed At Improving Accountability Within The Department Of Veterans Affairs, To Protect Whistleblowers, And Make It Easier To Fire Bad Employees

Baldwin Cosponsored A Bipartisan Bill Aimed At Improving Accountability Within The Department Of Veterans Affairs. “A bipartisan bloc of senators today rolled out new legislation to speed the disciplining of poor performing employees at the Veterans Affairs Department. The draft legislation would permit the VA secretary to remove, suspend or reprimand a senior executive with a 21-day internal grievance process. And it would allow the secretary to discipline non-senior executives with a 180-day window to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board. The bill would also permit the VA secretary to recoup bonuses and relocation reimbursements as well as authorize the reduction of senior executives’ pensions if employees were convicted of felonies related to their VA work. And the bill would establish an Office of Whistleblower Protection for employees to report problems and require supervisors to undergo periodic training on whistleblower rights and give the VA secretary direct hiring authority for directors of medical centers and veterans integrated service networks. The measure was introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and co-sponsored by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and ranking Democrat Jon Tester of Montana as well as Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).” [Politico, 5/11/2017]

Politico: “The New Proposal Could Mean A Breakthrough In Attempts To Beef Up VA Accountability,” and “make it easier to fire” poor performing VA employees. “The new proposal could mean a breakthrough in attempts to beef up VA accountability, which the House and Senate have thus far been unable to agree on. In March, the House passed legislation that would make it easier to fire or demote poor performing VA employees, but the bill is unlikely to win enough Democratic support to pass the Senate.” [Politico, 5/11/2017]

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Senate Passed A Bipartisan Measure To Protect Whistleblowers And Reform Civil Service Protections To Make It Easier To Hold Employees Accountable At The Department Of Veterans Affairs.” “In a voice vote Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan measure to protect whistleblowers and reform civil service protections to make it easier to hold employees accountable at the Department of Veterans Affairs. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Madison, was among 31 co-sponsors of the bill that was authored by Republicans Marco Rubio of Florida and Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Democrat Jon Tester of Montana.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/6/2017]

  • Headline: “U.S. Senate Passes Bipartisan Reform Measure Co-Sponsored By Tammy Baldwin.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/6/2017]

Baldwin Introduced Legislation To Prevent Previously Fired Or Suspended VA Doctors From Treating Veterans Again

Baldwin Introduced The Veterans Acquiring Community Care Expect Safe Services (ACCESS) Act Of 2017. [Congress.gov, S. 1153, Accessed 6/25/2018]

VA ACCESS Act (S.1153) Allowed VA To Deny Or Revoke Eligibility Of Certain Non-Department Health Care Providers To Provide Health Care Services To Veterans. “SEC. 2. PREVENTION OF CERTAIN HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS FROM PROVIDING NON-DEPARTMENT HEALTH CARE SERVICES TO VETERANS. (a) In General.—On and after the date that is one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall deny or revoke the eligibility of a health care provider to provide non-Department health care services to veterans if the Secretary determines that the health care provider— (1) was removed from employment with the Department of Veterans Affairs due to conduct that violated a policy of the Department relating to the delivery of safe and appropriate health care; (2) violated the requirements of a medical license of the health care provider; (3) had a Department credential revoked and the grounds for such revocation impacts the ability of the health care provider to deliver safe and appropriate health care; or (4) violated a law for which a term of imprisonment of more than one year may be imposed.” [Congress.gov, S.1153, Accessed 10/03/2018]

  • GovTrack: Veterans Acquiring Community Care Expect Safe Services (ACCESS) Act Of 2017 (S.1153) Was Incorporated Into The VA Mission Act (S.2372). [Govtrack, S.1153, Accessed 10/03/2018]
  • VA Mission Act Included Provision To Allow VA To Deny Or Revoke Eligibility Of Certain Non-Department Health Care Providers To Provide Health Care Services To Veterans. “SEC. 108. PREVENTION OF CERTAIN HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS FROM PROVIDING NON-DEPARTMENT HEALTH CARE SERVICES TO VETERANS. (a) In General.—On and after the date that is 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall deny or revoke the eligibility of a health care provider to provide non-Department health care services to veterans if the Secretary determines that the health care provider—(1) was removed from employment with the Department of Veterans Affairs due to conduct that violated a policy of the Department relating to the delivery of safe and appropriate health care; or (2) violated the requirements of a medical license of the health care provider that resulted in the loss of such medical license. (b) Permissive Action.—On and after the date that is 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary may deny, revoke, or suspend the eligibility of a health care provider to provide non-Department health care services if the Secretary determines such action is necessary to immediately protect the health, safety, or welfare of veterans and the health care provider is under investigation by the medical licensing board of a State in which the health care provider is licensed or practices.” [Congress.gov, S.2372, Accessed 10/03/2018]
  • VA Mission Act of 2018 Was Signed Into Law On June 6, 2018. [Congress.gov, S. 2372, Accessed 6/25/2018]

Senator Moran Joined Baldwin In Introducing The Veterans ACCESS Act

Baldwin Introduced The Veterans Acquiring Community Care Expect Safe Services (ACCESS) Act Of 2017. [Congress.gov, S. 1153, Accessed 6/25/2018]

  • Jerry Moran Was An Original Cosponsor Of The Veterans Acquiring Community Care Expect Safe Services (ACCESS) Act Of 2017. [Congress.gov, S. 1153, Accessed 6/25/2018]

Tammy Also Worked With Republicans And Democrats To Pass Legislation That Cuts The VA’s Unacceptable Appeals Backlog And Helps Our Veterans Get Back To Living Their Lives

Baldwin Cosponsored The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (S.1024). [Congress.gov, S.1024, Accessed, 10/03/2018]

The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (S.1024) Reformed The Department Of Veterans Affairs Disability Claims Appeals Process. “This bill revises the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claims appeals system. The bill permits a veteran to appeal within one year by: (1) requesting a review of the agency of original jurisdiction’s (AOJ) decision by a higher-level adjudicator within AOJ using the same evidentiary record; (2) filing a supplemental claim with a regional office that includes the opportunity to submit additional evidence and have a hearing; or (3) appealing directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, with the opportunity to select an expedited review to submit new evidence but without a hearing, or to select a review with the option to submit new evidence and request a hearing.” [Congress.gov, S.1024, Accessed, 10/03/2018]

The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (S.1024) Was Passed Into Law As Through An Identical House Measure (H.R.2288). [GovTrack, S.1024, Accessed 10/03/2018]

The VA Appeals Improvement And Modernization Act Of 2017 “Aimed At Transforming A Complex, Frustrating Appeals Process Into One That Is Simple, Timely And Transparent.” “The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (Appeals Modernization Act) was signed Aug. 23, 2017, aimed at transforming a complex, frustrating appeals process into one that is simple, timely and transparent. VA states that is working toward full implementation of the law, scheduled to take effect in February 2019. The new system features three differentiated lanes from which a claimant may choose in seeking review of a VA denial (or partial denial).” [Military Times, 9/3/2018]

Baldwin Helped Prevent A 2017 Funding Cut For Homeless Veterans Programs In Wisconsin

Baldwin Helped Prevent A 2017 Funding Cut For Homeless Veterans Programs In Wisconsin. “Democrats and Republicans alike have asked that the funding be restored. “However well-intentioned the changes to the (homeless veterans grant system) are, the fact remains that the loss of funding puts veterans in Wisconsin at risk,” U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin wrote in a recent letter to VA Secretary David Shulkin. Zimmerman last month announced he is expanding a separate program from 49 to 65 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties to help address the situation. That program uses case workers to connect veterans with housing, medical care and other needs. On Friday night, the VA announced it would give Wisconsin’s programs and others that lost funding a one-year extension. “The extension will give those organizations a chance to improve the effectiveness of their programs and an opportunity to apply for funding under an upcoming ‘notice of funding,'” a news release from the VA said.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/5/2017]

Wisconsin Public Radio: Kathy Hartke “Characterized Vukmir’s Criticism Of Baldwin As An Effort To Politicize Soldiers’ Deaths.” “Baldwin supporter, doctor and U.S. Air Force veteran Kathy Hartke, also characterized Vukmir’s criticism of Baldwin as an effort to politicize soldiers’ deaths, calling into question Vukmir’s voting record.” [Wisconsin Public Radio, 09/14/2018]

SHARE