Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) National President Thomas A. Zampieri, Ph.D. will form part of a six-member panel of Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) on Wednesday, March 3, as he summarizes the Association’s priorities for the first session of the 117th Congress. The scheduled 10:00am EST beginning of the hearing, which will be conducted virtually by the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs, will first feature oral testimony from the Disabled American Veterans followed by the six additional organizations forming the panel of which BVA is a member. This year’s hearing will be hosted by the House Committee with Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA-41) directing the proceedings.
The annual presentations provide the platform for VSOs to highlight points of emphasis in their written testimonies submitted for the Congressional record. Key BVA priorities this year include Congressional support for each of the following:
- A renewal period of ten years for the VA auto grant for service-connected blinded veterans
- Adequate funding of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Blind Rehabilitation Service
- Continued improvement of programs and services for women veterans
- Effective implementation of caregiver benefit programs
- Enactment of adequate protections for guide dogs and service dogs on federal properties
- Appropriations of $30 million for the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Vision Research Program
- Designation of four ocular trauma specialty centers in compliance with the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act
- The Joint Ocular Trauma Task Group established in September 2020
Blinded veterans and their families can view and listen to the live stream on the House Committee website. The Committee’s YouTube and Facebook pages will also carry the hearing live. BVA’s written testimony may be downloaded from its website as a DOC or PDF.