MOAA National Issues
In January, the 116th Congress begins its second session, and MOAA continues to stay focused on our mission. We’ve spent the past year meeting with members of Congress and their staffs to discuss pay equity, military medicine, survivor benefits, and other issues affecting servicemembers and veterans and their families. With record-level support during the first session on issues like repealing the “widows tax,” it’s clear our lawmakers know MOAA will remain equally engaged during the second half.
MOAA’s Government Relations staff identified the following eight objectives, which broadly represent priorities with targeted actions (not all inclusive) to address anticipated threats for the coming year. As we continue the fight to sustain benefits, health care, and compensation in support of the uniformed services and their families, we will keep our members informed on progress throughout the year.
Objective: Ensure any changes to the Military Health System sustain military-medical readiness and beneficiary access to top-quality care.
Prevent disproportional TRICARE fee increases. Stand down efforts to cut military medical billets and efforts to dismantle the MHS. Stop cuts to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, which provides education to uniformed health professionals, scientists, and leaders.
Objective: Sustain military pay comparability with the private sector and block erosion of compensation and non-pay quality-of-life benefits.
Ensure pay raises match the annual ECI index increase. Protect housing allowances from programmatic changes that penalize military-to-military married couples and those with children. Improve Defense Finance and Accounting Service quality and timeliness of support, and reduce existing backlog in services. Protect commissary and exchange benefits and dividends which support military quality- of-life programs. Approve flexible spending accounts for servicemembers in line with civilian employer programs.
Objective: Protect family support programs, and ensure military-provided services (housing, PCS, child care) are affordable, readily available, and meet quality standards.
Improve comprehensive housing reform and accountability Improve accountability of contract movers and claims during PCS moves. Create incentives to increase quality child care provider accessibility and capacity options. Include military spouses as a target group for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and improve occupational licensure transitions. Preserve Parole in Place and improve paths to citizenship for servicemembers and families Objective: End concurrent receipt penalties for military retirees.
Approve concurrent receipt for Chapter 61 retirees. Approve concurrent receipt for service-connected disabled retirees rated 40% and below.
Objective: Achieve equity of benefits, protections, and administrative support for Guard/Reserve members consistent with their active duty counterparts.
Eliminate Guard/Reserve retirement pay processing delays. Ensure timely health care benefit for Guard/Reserve retirees. Expand Military Lending Act protections and support Expand GI Bill parity for their service.
Objective: Ensure timely access to service-earned benefits, and resist proposals to erode foundational services delivered through the VA and DoD.
Enhance suicide prevention programs and access to behavioral health care. Assure appropriate health care and benefits for service-connected exposures. Strengthen and preserve support services for servicewomen and women veterans Improve wounded warrior and caregiver programs. Implement the VA MISSION Act and identify legislative improvements Preserve earned military-veteran burial benefits.
Objective: Support legislation, policies, and programs to enable the seven uniformed services to recruit, retain, and manage personnel.
Sustain continuous and timely appropriations for whole of government Ensure the continuity of pay and benefits during lapses in appropriations. Ensure authorizations and appropriations for the Coast Guard, Public Health Service, and NOAA Corps to meet expanding mission needs. Ensure implementation of sexual harassment and assault reporting programs through expanded protection of the safe to report program, and strengthen deterrence measures for sexual harassment prevention through command administrative actions for substantiated sexual harassment investigations
For additional up-to-date information visit: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Take-Action/Top-Issues/Top-Issues.aspx