24 September 2012 Legislative News Update 

9/24/2012 

Legislative News is AUSA Government Affairs Directorate's
weekly electronic newsletter, and is published
every Monday when Congress is in session.




In this issue:

  • AUSA On the Hill  
  • Stop-Gap Spending Measure Headed to President
  • Finally...

★★★
 

AUSA ON THE HILL

AUSA Director of Government Affairs, Bill Loper, and other representatives from various military and veterans' associations were invited to a roundtable meeting hosted by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Joined by eleven other Democratic members of the House including ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee Norm Dicks and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, the group discussed the problems caused by the lingering threat of sequestration that would gut defense accounts and could affect veteran’s education accounts. 

Another topic of discussion was the advance appropriation to fund veterans’ health care. The stop-gap spending bill just cleared by Congress does not include money for it and all of the associations are concerned that the omission will negatively affect veteran health care. 

Also discussed was the need end to the SBP-DIC offset.  This has been a long-time goal of AUSA’s and we will continue to press Congress to resolve it. 

Rep. Pelosi and the other Democratic members pledged again to maintain their efforts to pass legislation on behalf of military personnel, their families and veterans.

STOP-GAP SPENDING MEASURE HEADED TO PRESIDENT

“I would say that it is not a particularly good bill, but passing it is much better than allowing the Government to shut down over a lack of funding."

Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii
Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee


In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the Senate cleared a continuing resolution (CR) that will extend spending through March 27, 2013, and increase funding levels for most programs and agencies by about 0.6 percent.  The measure provides $608 billion for the Pentagon, including $88.5 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations account, for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

Senators then joined their House counterparts and departed the Capitol until after the election.

The question remains about what will happen after the CR expires at the end of March.  CQ Budget Tracker offers some options: 

* Clear an omnibus spending bill in the lame-duck session, using the six spending measures passed by the House as well as those backed by the Senate appropriations committee as a framework. 

* Allow members to offer amendments and shape an omnibus spending bill.

* Maintain the status quo by extending the current CR through the entire fiscal year to allow lawmakers to focus on reducing the deficit and overhauling the tax code.

Budget Tracker believes the last option is the most likely. 

This is no way to do business.

FINALLY...

As previously mentioned, Congress is in recess until after the Nov. 6 elections.  They will return on Nov. 13

Speaking of elections – Please vote!  To assist soldiers, the Defense Department has launched a mobile website for absentee voters.

The Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) recently launched a mobile website for military service members, their voting-age dependents, and overseas citizens.  The mobile website provides an interface that quickly leads users to voting information in an easy-to-read, mobile friendly format.

Accessible from any smartphone, the site connects voters, wherever they may be, with the latest news alerts, absentee voting information, State election dates, key contact information, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.  Users also can sign up for FVAP’s voting alerts.
 
The new mobile website is found at:
http://www.fvap.gov/mobile/.
 
Users will automatically be directed to the mobile website when they visit FVAP.gov from a mobile browser.

This update will return on Nov. 19.