4 December 2013 Legislative News Update 



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 To Congress: Do Not Allow an Erosion of Benefits



AUSA’s Resolutions provide the framework for the Association’s legislative agenda for the coming year. In recent days, the Government Affairs team has sent a copy of the resolutions to every member of Congress.

The 2014 resolutions highlight the fact that these are difficult economic times and with the federal deficit increasing to record heights, this will be an era of constrained defense spending.  The resolutions warn that Congress must not allow an erosion of benefits – particularly in health care and military retirement – which are crucial to the success of the all-volunteer force.

The resolutions also warn that sequestration, with its rigid implementation and lack of oversight is an irresponsible solution to our fiscal crisis.  The automatic, mindless cuts imposed by sequestration put the nation’s defense posture at serious risk and deprives defense leaders of the funding certainty and financial flexibility to properly structure, fund and maintain our armed forces.

Specifically, the Association urges Congress and the Administration to:

§  Maintain military pay comparability with the private sector

§  Fully fund in the Army base budget the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, Heath Promotion, Suicide Prevention, Risk Reduction, and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Programs

§  Fully fund the Army Wounded Warrior  and TBI/PTS  care and research initiatives

§  Limit increases in TRICARE fees/deductibles/pharmacy copays to no more than annual COLA increase

§  Maintain TRICARE for Life without enrollment fees

§  Enact legislation to provide reimbursement rates for TRICARE and MEDICARE providers  sufficient to maintain nationwide provider participation

§  Repeal in its entirety the Department of Veterans Affairs offset on retirees’ military entitlement (Concurrent receipt)

§  Expand concurrent receipt entitlement legislation to include all disabled veterans and those who are medically retired

§  Protect the full value of retiree and annuitant pay and benefits

§  Fully fund the Department of Veterans Affairs  to reduce the backlog of claims and appeals

§  Fund skill building and employment programs that help Soldier spouses obtain  and keep jobs and increase career portability options

§  Support initiatives to protect and enhance commissary and exchange benefits

§  Repeal the law that reduces military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuities by the amount of any survivor benefits from the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

§  Enact legislation that will remove sequestration from  Army budget planning and execution

§  Fully fund equipment, training, personnel manning and critical infrastructure to enable the Army to support its Homeland Defense missions

§  Authorize and appropriate funding in a timely and predictable manner to allow modernization without disruption according to multiyear strategies

To see all of AUSA’s Resolutions for 2014, please click on this link:  http://www.ausa.org/legislation/Documents/AUSA_Res2014.pdf