1. Current Congressional Bills/Activities for FY 2006
2. Support for National Guard and Reserve Equipment Accounts
3. Downsizing of Reserve Component
4. Update on TRICARE for Guard and Reserve members
5. Contact your Congressional Representatives; Senate and House, and Professional Staff Members
1. Current Congressional Bills of importance. The following bills have been introduced in the 109th Congress. These are bills that address legislative goals of interest to you, please review them. These bills need your active support. We encourage you to write your Congressional representatives. The following address some of our established goal:
v HR 558 and S 337 The Guard and Reserve Retention and Recruiting Act for 2005. Congressman Latham, Congressman Wilson introduced HR 558, and Senator Graham, Senator Landrieu, Senator Clinton, Senator Leheay, and Senator Allen introduced the companion bill S 337 in the Senate. These bills have provisions that address the following:
§ Expanded TRICARE coverage for Guard and Reserve members and their families.
§ Reduce Retirement options for Guard and Reserve Component members
v HR 838. Hope at Home Act, or Help Our Patriotic Employers at Helping Our Military Employees Act.’ was introduced by Congressman Lantos (CA), and currently has 44 cosponsors. This legislation includes the Employer’s of Guard and Reserve Tax Credits that we have been seeking for employers. Senator Landrieu intends to address this bill and issues in the Senate. This legislation main thrust is to address adequate retention and recruitment levels by protecting the financial security of the families of activated members of the National Guard and Reserve Components.
v HR 97. 'The Servicemembers Anti-Predatory Lending Protection Act’ was introduced by Congressman Graves (MO) to establish requirements and terms of consumer credit extended by a creditor to a servicemember or the dependent of a servicemember.
2. Support for National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account. At this time, Navy has established an unfunded list that does include equipment issues that are important to Reserve forces. Congress is very receptive to the needs and requirements of Guard and Reserve Components at this time. They are receptive since they have more knowledge of the shortcomings that have occurred over time with the ‘trickle down’ concept. These items appear on the Navy’s unfunded list and need your support;
v Equipment for Naval Coastal Warfare/Small Arms – Emerging GWOT requirement
v EOD/NCW equipment for Naval Coastal Warfare units
v C-40 Procurement – procures 1 additional C-40 for FY 06
v Reserve Requirements – for activation – Funds associated requirements for Reservist mobilize for GWOT
v The above are a part of the Navy’s unfunded list; however, there are other items that must be addressed in the NGREA account. Guard and Reserve Components still need the funding Congress provides through this means. If you write Congress about this, they will listen to your comments – make sure they know you are concerned about proper equipment for Naval Reserve Components.
3. Downsizing of Navy RC end strength. By now, through many means you may know about the end strength cuts requested in the President’s budget request. You also know most of the arguments for and against these cuts. Recently we had the opportunity to hear a briefing by the Air Force Future Total Force. It was enlightening in several ways. One of the most startling differences regarding how the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air Force Guard has approached their transformation and rebalancing is the way in which they analyzed the cost efficiencies. They have come to the analytical conclusion that it is more efficient to maintain Guard and Reserve end strength at this time, because they are efficient and effective. If end strength cuts are necessary, the Air Force is going to take them in the active force when that becomes necessary. The Air Force is integrating the three components ‘into’ each other. This is another difference that deserves your attention and that of Congress. We recommend that you let Congress know your opinion, as soon as possible.
v FY 06 Budget Request for Navy – reduces Navy Reserve end strength by 10,300. If you agree with this concept please let Congress know. If you question the efficiency and effectiveness of this drawdown at this time, then you must at least let Congress and the Professional Staff Members (PSMs) know you disagree. See the addresses below and or for the House Armed Services - and for the Senate Armed Services –
4. The “TRICARE Reserve Select” health benefit in the FY 2005 National Defense
Authorization Act is approaching implementation on April 26, 2005. This new authority—along with permanent pre- and post- activation TRICARE coverage—will help address the needs of Guard and Reserve families in the call-up pipeline. However, these authorities do not provide the coverage necessary to address the long-term readiness issues that will continue with the current and future utilization of our Guard and Reserve components. Additionally, with the increasing rate of utilization of all areas our Reserve Components increasing, Congress must act to provide increased health care benefits for all our country’s Guardsman, Reservists, and their families, to guarantee the nation can continue to call on them. TRICARE officials and DoD never implemented temporary TRICARE provisions and the FY 2005 provisions leave more questions unanswered. A permanent TRICARE program on a cost-share basis for our members of the Guard and Reserve components who are being mobilized and deployed at increasing rates. Further, coverage should include the Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) for members with disabled children, who are currently excluded by DoD policy. Along with The Military Coalition we strongly support permanent authorization of cost-share access to TRICARE for all members of the Selected Reserve and IRR members subject to activation under Presidential call-up authority, to support readiness, family morale, and deployment health preparedness.
5. E-mail or write your support for these bills and issues to your Senators and Congressman, IF they do not hear from you they assume you have no issue with what they decide!
v For your Senators: then find your state. Each Senator has a link to send them an e-mail; this is the most effective way to contact them at this time.
v For your House of Representative members: then put in your zip code, and the link will take you to correct site.
For the different Professional Staff Members that work the issues important to you, and do not forget to contact the Appropriations committees
For Senate committees, contact:
Senate Armed Services: Senate Appropriations - Defense
Judith Ansley Ms. Sid Ashworth
SR 228 Russell SD-119 Dirksen SOB
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510
Fax: 202-228-0037 ph: 202-224-7255//fax
For House committees, contact:
House Armed Services Committee House Armed Service – Total Force Subcommittee
Chair: Duncan Hunter (CA) Chair: John McHugh (NY)
Ranking Member: Ike Skelton (MO) Ranking Member: Vic Synder (AR)
Staff Director: Rob Rangel Staff Director: John Chapla
2120 Rayburn House Office Building 2120 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee: House Appropriations Full Committee
Chair: Jerry Lewis (CA) Chair: Jerry Lewis (CA)
Ranking Member: John Murtha (PA) Ranking Member: David Obey (WI)
PSM – Leslie Albright PSM – James Dyer - Staff Director
Room H-149 The Capitol Room H-218 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
Please feel free to forward this e-mail. For those of you who receive this, and you are not already a member, please consider joining the Naval Reserve Association. Check us out at: www.ausn.org or call on our toll free number 866-672-4968.