Senator’s bipartisan legislation allows American Legion membership for veterans who served in undeclared conflicts
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema sponsored her first Senate bill, introducing the bipartisan LEGION Act.
Currently, only veterans who served during periods of declared hostilities are able to join the American Legion. The LEGION Act—supported by the American Legion and cosponsored by Republican Senator Thom Tillis (N.C.)—extends American Legion membership to honorably discharged veterans who served since World War II. The bill ensures the thousands of brave American veterans who fought for our country during unrecognized times of war are able to enjoy the full benefits of the American Legion.
“The American Legion provides critical resources to our veterans, but currently, only veterans who served during formally recognized conflicts can belong to the Legion. That restriction leaves out thousands of former American servicemembers who signed up to defend our country. Our legislation rights this wrong and ensures veterans have the opportunity to join the American Legion,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
“Nearly 1,600 brave American men and women were killed or wounded since World War II, while defending our nation during times not officially recognized as periods of war by the U.S. government,” American Legion National Commander Brett P. Reistad said. “These veterans are unable to receive some of the benefits and recognition available to their counterparts who served during official wartime periods. Because The American Legion is congressionally chartered, we are unable to welcome many of these veterans as members of the nation’s largest veterans organization. It is fitting that during the 100th anniversary of the founding of The American Legion, Senators Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Thom Tillis (NC) are introducing the LEGION Act, bipartisan legislation that will recognize all veterans who served honorably since the start of World War II, while also fostering growth within the veteran community. Moreover, we salute Sen. Sinema for making this the first bill that she has introduced as a newly elected U.S. senator. We hope that the American people will encourage all members of Congress to support the LEGION Act. It is an appropriate ‘thank you’ to those who served.”
Sinema has spent her career in Congress leading the fight for Arizona’s veterans, and she continues to do so in the Senate.
While in the House, Sinema cosponsored the VA MISSION Act, which is now law. The VA MISSION Act helps veterans receive care when they don’t live near a VA facility or when the VA can’t provide them with timely or specialty medical care. Sinema has also led the charge to reform the VA by being an original cosponsor of the VA Accountability Act and by supporting the VA Choice Act, both of which were signed into law. Additionally, Sinema worked with the family of Sgt. Daniel Somers, an Arizona veteran who lost his life to suicide, to introduce and successfully get signed into law the Sgt. Daniel Somers Classified Veterans Access to Care Act which ensures veterans who serve in a classified capacity can get private counseling from the VA.