The Association of the United States Navy had a busy month in August in terms of legislative and policy action, and we’d like our membership to be kept up to date on our activities. This monthly update summarizes some of the major actions we have taken on your behalf as an organization within the past month.
In addition to attending numerous calls and meetings with other Military/Veteran Service Organizations, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, and other key officials, AUSN was involved in the following legislative and policy issues:
August 11: Proposed cuts to USUHS
The Defense Wide Review (DWR) called for significant funding cuts to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. However, we believe that adequate funding is essential to maintaining a world-class university that attracts high-caliber faculty and students. We are concerned that if these DWR-driven budget cuts are not reversed, many critical programs that contribute to USU’s leadership role in military medicine and address needs specific to the military community face elimination or drastic cuts. As a result, we signed onto a letter led by The Military Coalition that urges the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to restore restore $10 million to USU operation and maintenance funding as well as $14.2 million to USU research and development funding.
August 19: Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)
AUSN supports bills H.R. 5876 and S. 1802, which would provide a Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for military spouses as well as flexible spending arrangements for childcare services for military families. Due to regular relocation, military spouses have an unemployment rate of 24%. Employers are also hesitant to hire and train military spouses, again due to relocation. The WOTC is a federal tax credit benefiting employers who hire individuals from certain target groups that face significant barriers to securing employment. AUSN signed onto a TMC letter that supports creating a specific military spouse target group within the WOTC.
August 20: Minimum Service Standard
AUSN joined the Blinded Veterans Association in signing onto a letter regarding the FCC’s proposal to increase the Lifeline Minimum Service Standard. We believe that while this proposal is well-intentioned, increasing the Minimum Service Standard without increasing the subsidy available to Lifeline service providers will most likely result in costs being passed through to the most vulnerable consumers who rely on free communications services from the Lifeline program to pursue employment, education, and to avoid social isolation.
August 27: Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) Act of 2020
As a proud member of the Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) coalition, AUSN supports legislation that aims to deal with the toxic exposure issues that continue to plague our service members. The TEAM Act of 2020 (S. 4393) would reduce incidents of toxic exposure in the U.S. military and increase access and quality of care for those made ill as the result of their military service. This comprehensive legislation represents the culmination of nearly two years of collaboration and consensus building by the organizations of the TEAM Coalition to establish priorities towards achieving that goal. AUSN signed onto a letter by the TEAM coalition urging its passage.