08 January 2015 Legislative News Update
weekly electronic newsletter, and is published
every Monday when Congress is in session.
In this issue:
OUT WITH THE OLD. IN WITH THE NEW.
The 114th Congress that convened this week looks very different than the 113th. Almost of the leaders who sit atop the defense committees have changed. In addition to the changes in Congress, we will also see a new Secretary of Defense.
Some things will stay the same though. Sequestration will raise its ugly head again. This year’s defense authorization and spending bills will require enormous cuts to personnel and funding unless sequestration is mitigated or ended. AUSA will continue to urge Congress to take measures to rid our nation of the specter of sequestration. It is an irresponsible solution to our fiscal woes which AUSA and its coalition partners are determined to end.
We also anticipate that the president’s budget, due in February, will include more threats to promised pay and benefits. Added to this is the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission report, due Feb. 1 that will certainly include recommendations that effect servicemembers and their families.
We will be working to promote enactment of legislation that will benefit our membership. Even with successes during the last Congress, there are many issues that remain:
· Ending sequestration permanently
· Maintaining pay parity between the military and civilian sectors
· Full concurrent receipt for all disabled retirees
· Ending the Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency and Indemnity Compensation offset for survivors
· Limiting increases in TRICARE fees/deductibles to COLA increases
· Prohibiting TRICARE for Life enrollment fees
· Retaining the current retirement system
· Maintaining funded Army operational end strength to support the national defense strategy
· Maintaining assured access to the Reserve Component
· Increasing funding for spare parts, maintenance and training
· Full funding for resetting the Current Force
· Maintaining defense spending of at least 4% of GDP/Army share of at least 28%
· Providing pay and benefits for Reserve Component personnel and their families that are commensurate with their active duty counterparts
These are just some of the legislative issues that will be part of the AUSA agenda for 2015.
AUSA will be offering testimony, making visits to members of Congress, and joining with the 32 other organizations in the Military Coalition – all to make our voice for the Soldier heard in the halls of the Capitol.
Stay tuned. It should be another challenging year.