AFSA HQ Newsletter – March 1st

This newsletter is produced and released on a weekly basis by AFSA HQ. To read the full newsletter, as well as archived entries, visit the AFSA On Call Newsletter section of www.hqafsa.org.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES AND NEWS

AFSA on the Hill

AFSA was on Capitol Hill in force this week, relaying your concerns to Members of Congress.  Included in our visits were talks with the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and the leaders of several key HASC and Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittees.  By in large, each congressional Member we visited was sympathetic to the Associations major concerns like protecting earned military and veterans benefits and repealing the SBP/DIC offset.  All acknowledged the existing fiscal challenges but pledged to their best to preserve important benefits as congressional discussions on these matters move forward.  One thing is clear, the military community is not happy with Administration proposals to raise annual TRICARE or alter the military retirement package and they are letting their members of Congress know how they feel.  As a reminder, the AFSA Legislative Staff regularly presents Association priorities directly to Members of Congress but the real strength behind our message lies in the number of calls, letters and emails coming from members in the field.  Many more visits to the Hill are scheduled and we urge you to keep your important communications coming. 

House Hearing on Military Awards

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss ways to better protect military service records and awards.  Lawmakers heard testimony from several DoD offices responsible for issuing and tracking military awards and decorations, much of which focused on the capabilities of existing systems.  AFSA’s Coalition partner, the VFW, and Mr. C. Douglas Sterner, Curator of the Military Times “Hall of Valor” both urged Congress to establish a national database that will be used to identify the recipients of the military’s top awards, including the Medal of Honor.  The new database would serve two purposes: honor legitimate award recipients and maintain the integrity of all military awards and decorations.  There has been a noticeable uptick of congressional interest on the issue of “Stolen Valor” after a pair of federals appeals courts issued entirely different opinions (1 for; 1 against) on the “Stolen Valor Act,” a 2006 law which makes it a crime to lie about receiving certain military medals.  As reported last week, the issue is in the hands of the Supreme Court and they are expected to render a final decision on the matter by summer.

  • Governors Speak Out Against ANG Cuts
  • No More Military Base Closures
  • Military Experience of Elected Officials
  • American Soldier Comes Home From Iraq War
  • VA, DoD Secretaries Meet

VETERANS NEWS 

  • Get Your Questions Answered on VA’s GI Bill Page
  • 300 Vet Centers Here for Vets Who Served in Combat Zones

HEALTHCARE 

  • Dental Benefits for Separating Guard and Reserve Component Members

AFSA MEMBER BENEFITS 

  • AFSA Insurance: Life and Health
  • Hyatt Hotels Discount
To read the full newsletter visit the AFSA On Call Newsletter section of AFSA HQ’s website.

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