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Members of Congress, staffers attend AUSA Annual Meeting

Sunday, December 01, 2013

In spite of the government shutdown and the debt ceiling crisis – neither of which was resolved until days before the Annual Meeting – AUSA held a rip-roaring event attended by more than 28,000.

I have great news to report on congressional attendance at the meeting. Held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the meeting was the place to be in late October.

On Tuesday, Rep. Mike Turner, R- Ohio, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Airland Subcommittee, visited the exhibit floor.

Later Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, both former soldiers, visited the exhibits.

Then, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., visited and met with senior leaders from Fort Bragg.

On Wednesday morning, Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., attended the 7th Region Breakfast, and Rep Mike Rogers, R-Ala., spent two hours touring exhibits.

In the afternoon, Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., and Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., also visited the exhibit halls.

In the evening, Reps. Roger Williams, R-Texas, and Pete Gallego, D-Texas, attended the George C. Marshall Memorial Dinner.

Many staffers visited the meeting site – touring exhibits, attending breakfasts and seminars and visiting unit hospitality suites.

Staffers were able to take the opportunity to meet with top Army leadership to discuss critical issues facing the Army and also to meet with key defense industry leaders and view the latest technology in the exhibit halls.

This year’s Congressional Staff Breakfast was one of the best attended congressional events in the Association’s history, with AUSA President Gen. Gordon Sullivan, USA, Ret., hosting 650 attendees.

More than 260 key congressional staff members were among the guests.

The event featured two speakers. The Army chief of staff, Gen. Ray Odierno, who addressed the group and described the way forward as the Army continues to provide service to the nation and strength for the future.

After he spoke, Army Secretary John McHugh provided his view of the state of the Army to the gathering that included top leaders of the Army, both military and civilian.

The breakfast is a way for AUSA to thank staffers for all they do for the nation and the armed forces in the course of their work.

Later, more than 20 staffers attended the Eisenhower Lunch to hear Odieno deliver his "State of the Army" address.

Thirty staffers and their guests attended the Marshall Dinner to hear the Marshall Medal acceptance speech of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Now, AUSA begins the long road toward next year’s meeting with the expectation that it will be even bigger and better than this year.

Just prior to the Annual Meeting, the AUSA Resolutions Committee completed the AUSA 2014 resolutions.

Next year, the government affairs staff will use them as our guide to legislative advocacy.

I have one final bit of news for those of you who get federal retirement checks and Social Security checks.

The cost of living increase has just been announced – 1.5 percent.

So, we can say with certainty that your check will increase by that percentage in January 2014.

Don’t spend it all in one place, and be sure to save some for that AUSA renewal.

We would love to have you as a reader of the "View from the Hill" next year.

Please stay with us as we engage with those on Capitol Hill to authorize and fund programs that will help our Army keep the nation safe and provide a high quality of life for soldiers and their families.