AFSA International Legislative Committee Bulletin 2014-108

CMSgt (Ret.) James E. Lokovic
Vice Chairman, AFSA International Legislative Committee

October 14, 2014

1. What Happens if the Senate is Evenly Split? The Washington Examiner takes a look at the possibility that, after the November elections, the Republicans and Democrats could each end up with 50 Senate While the Republicans need to gain 6 seats to take over control of the U.S. Senate, a 50-50 tie is possible. While AFSA members know that the U.S. Vice President (currently VP Joe Biden, Democrat) is considered the “President of the Senate” and votes to break legislative voting ties, what would happen with control of the committees and subcommittees in the Senate?

In the House and Senate, whichever party has the majority normally is in control of the chairmanship of all committees and subcommittees, and has more seats in each.

Presently, the Republicans control the House and all of its committees and subcommittees. The Democrats control the Senate. The party in control in a chamber also controls all movement of legislation.

In the House, legislation is controlled by Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio. In the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has this control. These two men wield great legislative power. For example, hundreds of bills that have passed the Republican-led House in recent years have not even been considered by the Senate— because Democratic Sen. Reid has prevented it.

If the Senate and House each have 50 members, a Republican-Democrat deal would have to be reached on control of the committees and subcommittees. During the 107th Congress, for a five-month period, there was such an equal split. According to the Washington Examiner article, the two parties chose to “split committee assignments, staffing and funding levels essentially down the middle.”

To read the Examiner article which further examines this possibility, go to:

2. USERRA Law Now 20 Years Old; Improvements Still Needed. An AFSA Legislative Platform target reads, “Support greater transparency in reporting and resolving Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) ” AFSA was directly involved in the passage of this important law in 1994.

The Air Force Times reports on USERRA in telling us, “The law that dramatically changed—for the better—the employment landscape for National Guard and reserve troops is celebrating its 20th anniversary today.

“But advocates say some common-sense changes to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 could strengthen its protections for reserve component troops returning to their civilian jobs after mobilizations and deployments.

“Over the last two years, one issue that has emerged is a need to protect veterans who take time off for appointments at VA and military medical facilities, said Mathew Tully, founding partner of the law firm Tully Rinckey and author of Military Times’ ‘Ask the Lawyer’ column.

“Tully said his firm has seen a spike in the number of troops who have faced job termination because of their absences for medical appointments once or twice a month. USERRA doesn’t cover those medical appointments, nor does any other federal law, Tully said. ‘But these returning veterans are going to multiple VA appointments.’”

Those interested can read more at: employment-law-troops-turns-20

3. North Korea Seeks to Pressure the S. by Using the Remains of Korean War Dead. The Air Force Sergeants Association looks for every opportunity to support one of our Legislative Platform items: “Provide a full accounting of POW/MIAs from all past and future military actions, and promote international compliance in recovery efforts.”

An Air Force Times article reports, “North Korea said Monday that the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War were being neglected and ‘carried away en masse,’ in an apparent effort to pressure Washington to resume recovery efforts that could also lead to much-needed money for the impoverished country.

“The United States suspended efforts to recover the remains of thousands of U.S. soldiers who died during the Korean War because of the North’s plans to launch a long-range rocket in 2012. The U.S. at the time was just starting the process of resuming excavation work that had been suspended in 2005 when Washington said security arrangements for its personnel working in the North were insufficient. North Korea would have received millions of dollars in compensation for its support of the work.

“About 8,000 U.S. service members are listed as missing from the 1950-53 war, and some 5,300 of the missing are believed to be in North Korea. . .”

To read the full article, go to: Remains-U-S-soldiers-being-moved

4. For Veterans—Best Career and Technical Colleges. An article in the Military Times tells us that it conducted a survey of “career and technical colleges,” trying to identify those which are best for Of those who responded to the survey, Santa Fe Community College, based in New Mexico, is the top Career and Technical College. The article continues, “Fayetteville Technical Community College in North Carolina; Virginia College, headquartered in Alabama; The Los Angeles Film School in California, and Thomas Nelson Community College in Virginia rounded out the top five.

“Based on their responses to our survey, as well as Education Department data, the schools were evaluated on their culture, student support, academic policies, academic quality and financial considerations.

“On average, vets made up about 13 percent of the enrollments of schools responding to the survey.”

To read the complete article, go to:



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