Director, Government Affairs
As I write this article, we face an all-too-familiar situation in the defense legislative arena.
The regular defense authorization and appropriation legislation is moving forward in both houses of Congress in fits and starts.
However, because this is an election year, it appears that the Congress, in what increasingly appears to be the norm, plans to pass a six-month continuing resolution in September that would fund the government until March 2013 at 2012 appropriations levels.
That would push the passage of the actual funding legislation into the next Congress.
This year the process is overshadowed by the complete lack of negotiations over the potential trigger of sequestration in January 2013.
Should sequestration actually happen, and most of Washington says it won’t, the Defense Department would face enormous cuts across all of its budget but personnel accounts which the president recently made exempt.
Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., AUSA president, has sent letters to the Hill leadership three times urging a quick legislative end to the sequestration threat.
You can add your voice to his by sending a letter of your own using our website. Go to www.ausa.org, click on "Legislative Action Center" at the bottom of the page.
Put your zip code in the box titled "Elected Officials," and then click on the prepared letter "Stop Sequestration Now."
Together we can fight to keep the target of budget cuts off the back of soldiers and their families.
While we take on that debate and others, the Government Affairs shop is preparing for its role in the Annual Meeting.
Yep, it’s that time again, when we prepare to host at least 35,000 of our members and closest friends.
Because AUSA’s legislative goals are driven by our resolutions, the Government Affairs Directorate is responsible for hosting the committee that creates the resolutions during the Annual Meeting.
The resultant resolutions recommendations are voted on by the chapter delegates and become the next year’s resolutions.
The deadline for resolutions submissions by individual members and chapters occurred in July.
The government affairs staff reviewed the submissions, sorted them by category and formatted them.
Also, in September we hosted a meeting here at National Headquarters during which the chairman of the AUSA National Resolutions Committee and the two subcommittee chairs met with Sullivan.
He offered his guidance concerning the resolutions process and his philosophy about the direction of the Association for the coming year.
We also began preparations for the Congressional Staff Breakfast that Government Affairs hosts during the Annual Meeting.
Last year it drew almost 600 guests of which over 200 were congressional staffers.
It is a way for AUSA to show the Association’s appreciation to the congressional staff for all they do for the nation and the armed forces in the course of their work.
The secretary of the Army and the Army chief of staff speak to the group, which includes senior Army military and civilian personnel as well as congressional staff.
After the breakfast the guests are invited to tour the exhibit halls.
Of course, on Capitol Hill in August, the halls are quiet and members of Congress are in their home districts taking the pulse of their constituents.
When they return, AUSA will weigh in appropriately prior to the completion of the defense bills and during conference to be sure that members are aware of our stand on key issues.
So, while August brings relative quiet to the Hill, AUSA’s Government Affairs team is busy preparing to re-engage on the Hill in September and to host the Resolutions Committee and a congressional breakfast during the Annual Meeting in October.
Thank you for being members of the Association, and thank you for helping us help our soldiers.