Military & Veterans News
Braley's Bipartisan "Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity" Takes Another Step Forward in US House PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 13 July 2012 12:24

Measures will strengthen veterans’ employment protections, enhance mortgage safeguards, and block deceptive targeting of vets by educational institutions 

Washington, D.C. – A package of bipartisan bills authored by Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01), dubbed the “Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity,” has been approved by the US House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.  The measures will help improve economic opportunities and job protections for America’s military veterans.

The proposals were first advanced two weeks ago by the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, where Braley is the highest ranking Democrat.

Braley’s “Blueprint” will strengthen employment protections for veterans seeking medical treatment for service-related injuries, enhance protections from home foreclosures against veterans, and target deceptive marketing practices by some educational institutions by providing veterans with standard information about available higher education options.

“The ‘Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity’ advanced by the Veterans’ Affairs Committee today will strengthen protections for veterans’ jobs, homes, and educational benefits,” said Braley.  “This is a step forward for America’s returning veterans.  I’m encouraged that these proposals attracted such strong bipartisan support.  It shows what’s possible when we put aside party labels and work together to do good for men and women who have sacrificed so much for us.”

The bills were passed with the overwhelming bipartisan support of the Veterans’ Affairs panel.  Braley has worked closely with Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman (IN-03) for months on these and other legislative proposals to improve economic prospects for veterans.  In October 2011, for example, Braley and Stutzman hosted a field hearing on reducing the unemployment rate among returning National Guard veterans in Waterloo, Iowa.

More detailed summaries of the components of Braley’s “Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity” follow:

HR 5747, Military Family Home Protection Act. Includes Braley language that ensures opportunities for housing and employment by 1) expanding and improving protections from home foreclosures against military veterans and surviving spouses of servicemembers who died while serving our country; and 2) providing military and National Guard veterans up to 4 weeks of unpaid leave from their employer each calendar year for treatment for a service-related injury without fear of losing their jobs.

HR 4057, Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act. Includes Braley language that targets aggressive and deceptive marketing to service members and veterans by some educational institutions and provides veterans with standard information about post-secondary institutions to help vets make more informed choices about college.

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$750K Raised for Military Families and Veterans PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Angie Taylor   
Thursday, 12 July 2012 14:46

In April, Hardee’s launched its Stars for Heroes in-store fundraiser benefiting military charities, including The Mission Continues and USA Cares. Thanks to your readers’ generous donations, we’re happy to announce more than $750K raised thus far (by CKE Restaurants - Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s) to assist military families and veterans.

To participate, restaurant guests donated $1 in support of military charities. For each $1 donation, guests received a commemorative “Stars for Heroes” cut out to personalize and place on display in the restaurant; in addition, they received restaurant coupons valued at more than $10 to use toward future purchases.

While the in-store fundraiser has concluded, consumers are able to continue backing the nation’s military communities through a special donation page housed on the Stars for Heroes Facebook page (

More information about Stars for Heroes is available here: Thanks again to you and your readers for the support! I look forward to sharing additional news with you about Hardee’s future military fundraising efforts.

Loebsack, Branstad Discuss Importance of Iowa’s Air Guard During House Hearing PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Joe Hand   
Thursday, 12 July 2012 14:34
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today discussed the importance of ensuring the 132nd Fighter Wing remains based in Des Moines with Gov. Terry Branstad.  The Governor testified before the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing that focused on the Air Force’s proposed reductions.  As the only Member of Congress from Iowa on the House Armed Services Committee, earlier this year, Loebsack successfully included a bipartisan amendment in the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prevent cuts to the National Guard personnel and aircraft in Iowa and across the nation.

“Today’s hearing helped further highlight the critical role the National Guard plays in our state’s and nation’s security and I am pleased Governor Branstad could join us,” said Loebsack.  “As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I’ve been successfully fighting against the proposed cuts to the 132nd.  Our country has invested in the training and experience of the Airman with the 132nd who are some of the most experienced, most cost effective, and best performing in the country.  These Airmen have served our state and country with great dedication.  Going forward, I will continue to work on a bipartisan basis with the Governor to ensure that the Air Force’s proposal does not move forward.”


Loebsack questions Gov. Branstad:

Loebsack welcomes Gov Branstad to the hearing:

Governor Branstad's Testimony Regarding Importance of National Guard PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad   
Thursday, 12 July 2012 14:21

All – Please find Gov. Branstad’s testimony to the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Readiness regarding the importance of the National Guard, which just concluded, attached to this email.

Additionally, below are the letters referenced in the governor’s testimony:

DOD Response letter:

Co-Chair letter to Secretary Carter

Co-Chair letter to AF

Letter to Secretary Panetta

Gov. Branstad orders flags at half-staff to honor Sgt. James Skalberg Jr. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad   
Thursday, 12 July 2012 14:16

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Branstad is ordering all flags in the state to be flown at half-staff beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 13, 2012, until 8 a.m. on Monday, July 16, 2012 for Sgt. James Skalberg Jr., 25, originally of Emerson.

Sgt. Skalberg was killed in Afghanistan, while serving on active duty in the U.S. Army, on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 when an improvised explosive device detonated near the vehicle he was driving. He was one of two soldiers killed in the explosion.

The governor’s directive applies to all U.S. and state flags under the control of the state. H.R. 692, signed in 2007, requires federal government agencies in the state to comply with the governor’s executive order that the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of a member of the Armed Forces.

Flags will be at half-staff on the state Capitol building and on flag displays in the Capitol complex, and upon all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.

Sgt. Skalberg is survived by his wife, Jessica Skalberg; his son, Carter Skalberg; his parents, James and Kelli Skalberg Sr.; sister, Spring Skalberg; and grandparents Bonnie and John Stephens and Karen Brewer.

Visitation for Sgt. Skalberg will be held from 4-8 p.m., Friday, July 13 at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 1101 Summit St., Red Oak, with the family present. The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, July 14, also at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church. A graveside service will follow at the Emerson Cemetery (directly west of Red Oak at the junction of Iowa Highways 34 and 59).

The family requests in lieu of flowers, memorials be sent to the Carter Skalberg Education Fund, 705 E. Corning St., Red Oak, Iowa 51566.

The U.S. flag flown over the state Capitol on the day of the funeral will be presented to Sgt. Skalberg’s family at a later date, along with a proclamation honoring him.


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