The Association of the United States Navy takes a number of legislative and policy actions each month, and we’d like our membership to be kept up to date on our activities. This monthly update summarizes some of the actions we have taken on your behalf as an organization in June.
In addition to attending numerous calls and meetings with other Military/Veteran Service Organizations, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, and other key officials, here are some of the highlights in terms of actions by AUSN this past month:
June 2: COVID-19 relief legislation
AUSN signed on to a letter from The Military Coalition to the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committees urging them to take into account a number of key Veterans issues as they draft future COVID-19 relief legislation. These issues ranged from hazard pay for front-line workers to CHAMPVA telehealth services.
June 3: Education support for military spouses
AUSN made the decision to support draft legislation from Rep. Gregorio Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands) that aims to provide Navy and other military spouses with more flexibility for DoD funding dedicated to help them receive the career and technical education needed to enter portable licensed professions.
June 8: Reserve support during COVID-19
AUSN signed onto a TMC letter in support of HR 6957, a bill that would direct the SecDef and VA to treat a period of full-time National Guard duty as not shorter than 90 days when performed in response to COVID-19. The letter urges it be amended to include all activated Reserve and National Guard servicemembers. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Armed Services May 22.
June 16: Servicemember Student Loan Affordability Act
AUSN decided to support legislation from Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth. The Servicemember Student Loan Affordability Act (S.4002) would allow servicemembers to consolidate or refinance student loan debt they had when they entered the military and continue to benefit from the 6% interest rate cap to which they are entitled through the SCRA. The bill was introduced June 18 and referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
June 18: 3-5% DoD budget growth
AUSN joined with our frequent ally AUSA in a letter urging President Trump to increase the DoD budget by 3-5% in fiscal 2022 and 2023. The fiscal 2021 budget is relatively flat with negative real budget growth while the Defense Department is striving to realize the National Defense Strategy through growing readiness and modernizing. Secretary Esper and General Milley have testified, as did former Secretary Mattis and General Dunford, that the DoD needs 3 -5% budget growth to continue to grow readiness, modernize, and improve overmatch with respect to our competition.