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Veterans’ organizations may not testify before the traditional joint session of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committees next March.
Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said instead his committee will hold a hearing earlier in the year so the veterans can have greater influence in developing the Department of Veterans Affairs budget.
“I’m going to bring these organizations in and make them material and relevant,” Buyer said in an interview Nov. 8.
In recent years, testimony before the joint session had come late in the budget process after Congress had developed its “views and estimates” response to the president’s proposal. The impact of the joint sessions was limited, Buyer said.
The Retired Enlisted Association’s executive director supported it [the change].
“We should be in at the beginning,” said TREA’s president, retired Air Force Master Sgt. Mark Olanoff, in a new release issued by Buyer’s office. “This is good.”