AUSA on the Hill. AUSA’s vice president for education, Lt. Gen. Guy Swan, USA, Ret., and the director of government affairs, Bill Loper, represented AUSA at a military association roundtable hosted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to discuss issues important to the associations.
Members of Congress also attending included those who sit on committees such as Veterans’ Affairs; Budget; Homeland Security; Military Construction/VA Appropriations Subcommittee, as well as members of the House Armed Services Committee.
Topics discussed included advance appropriations for the VA budget.
Congress currently funds only the medical care portion of VA’s discretionary budget – roughly 86 percent of the total – one year in advance.
Also discussed was the House’s proposed 1.8 percent pay increase for members of the military. The Senate’s bill would provide a 1 percent raise.
Association leaders urged that the House fight for the 1.8 percent raise in conference committee. They also reiterated their position that there should be no further increases in TRICARE fees or copays.
Sequestration relief coming? We are hearing some encouraging news on the sequestration front.
It has been reported that House-Senate budget conference committee members are in negotiations on a plan that would provide some sequester relief and provide new discretionary spending levels for appropriators for two years.
Among the plans being discussed are proposals to reduce sequester cuts by about $65 billion over two years and offset the spending increases with about $85 billion in deficit reduction generated by federal asset sales, user fee increases and mandatory spending cuts.
Aides caution, however, that there is no agreement on those targets.
The increased spending would be evenly divided between defense and nondefense spending, softening a scheduled $20 billion cut in defense spending this year and providing additional resources for the domestic side of the budget.
AUSA President Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, ret., has said repeatedly that sequestration is a draconian, inefficient and ineffective way to solve America’s budget crisis and that Congress must work together to find a better way to solve our budget crisis than the inefficient and ineffective "slash and burn" called sequestration.
Sullivan is cautiously optimistic that the House-Senate negotiators will reach an agreement in time.
Please add your voice to ours.
Because you vote, because you are the grassroots, your voice speaks far louder than ours.
Go to our website and click the "Contact Congress" button, put in your Zip Code and send the prepared letter titled "Support a Moratorium on Sequestration" to your members of Congress.
Speak up and let your voice be heard.
Our Army must be appropriately funded to preserve its mission readiness, modernization, pay and benefits today and tomorrow.
AUSA national headquarters will continue to beat the drum to fund our Army, but YOU will help the drum beat loud enough so that those who must heed the call will hear it.
Please act now!