25 June 2014 Legislative News Update
weekly electronic newsletter, and is published
every Monday when Congress is in session.
In this issue:
- NO TIME FOR FUN AND GAMES
NEW LEGISLATION SPOTLIGHT
Search “congressional crunch before August recess” on the internet and you will get about 4,660,000 results! Unfortunately, it looks like nothing will change this year.
Once Congress returns to town after the July 4 recess, they are scheduled to leave again at the end of the month and be away for all of August as well as half of September and all but two days in October. That would give them only 28 legislative days scheduled before the mid-term elections on Nov. 4.
With that time crunch in mind, the focus is on the Senate to see if they will be able to pass the three primary defense-related bills already approved by the House: the defense appropriations bill which was passed last week (June 20); the National Defense Authorization Act (passed on May 22); and the Military Construction/ Veterans’ Affairs spending bill (passed April 30).
While the Senate leadership has said that they want all of the bills passed before the new fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, veteran Hill watchers are not so sure it will happen.
A trio of government spending bills bundled together by Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Richard Shelby, R-Ala., was pulled from the Senate floor last week when both sides of the aisle were unable to agree on the amendment process. That does not bode well for passage of any of the 12 appropriations bills which would mean another season of funding the government through continuing resolutions.
AUSA’s leadership has urged Congress to return to regular order. AUSA President Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., recently told members of Congress that “for our military leaders to properly execute their national security mission, they need authorization authority and appropriations to be completed on time and with regular order. Operating under a series of continuing resolutions and sequestration limits their capability to properly plan and execute a budget.”
NEW LEGISLATION SPOTLIGHT
Sometimes it’s the little things most of us never think about. Reps. Ed Royce, R-Calif., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., have introduced legislation that would allow members of the military and their families to keep their current auto insurance policy when they move from state to state.
The Servicemembers Insurance Relief Act (H.R. 4669) also makes the current state-based insurance regulatory system more accommodating to servicemembers that currently have to change auto insurance policies every time they relocate across state lines.
“Members of the military must change auto insurance policies with every move across state lines, and the Servicemembers Insurance Relief Act eliminates that cumbersome requirement for our brave men and women in uniform,” said Rep. Royce. “This bipartisan legislation makes a simple but meaningful change to current law that will lessen the burden on servicemembers and their families during times of transition.”
“Members of our military serve around the globe and make enormous sacrifices while doing so. As they move their families around the country, we should be doing everything within our power to allow them to do their jobs to the best of their ability. The Servicemembers Insurance Relief Act is an important step in that direction,” said Rep. Duckworth.
Introduction of the bill follows a 2013 report by the Federal Insurance Office of the U.S. Department of the Treasury that declared eliminating the auto insurance change requirement for relocating servicemembers as a way to improve and modernize insurance regulation.
AUSA thanks Reps. Royce and Duckworth for introducing this legislation.