federal and State
During the October 21, 2020 meeting, the JLC adopted the following seven initiatives for 2021, and forwarded them to DVS and the General Assembly, may be viewed at: JLC 2021 Intiatives. Feedback and questions regarding the intiatives may be directed to COL Zimmerman at email@example.com. View Summary of Legislative Proposals for the 2021 General Assembly Session, by DVS Director of Policy and Planning Claudia Flores, here: Legislative Update Federal For 2021, MOAA is conducting Advocacy in Action 2021. The top three topics for Advocacy in Action 2021 are Comprehensive Toxic Exposure Reform, TRICARE Young Adult Parity and Basic Needs Allowance. As with previous years, The Maj. Richard Star Act is also being advocated. As always, each of these topics address those who are currently serving, veterans and recent retirees, and members of the National Guard and Reserve forces. From MOAA Vice President for Government Relations Col Dan Merry's article of 9 February 2021 entitled, " Advocacy in Action: Details on MOAA’s Spring Campaign" details of each topic follow. Our topics this year address those who are currently serving, veterans and recent retirees, and members of the National Guard and Reserve forces. Topic 1: Comprehensive Toxic Exposure ReformThis focus on comprehensive toxic exposure reform highlights those currently serving, veterans, those recently retired from active duty, and the Guard and Reserves. When most people hear about toxic exposure, they think of Agent Orange and Vietnam, and we work that, too. However, there is a significant lack of awareness of the current toxic exposures for those in uniform today and since 9/11. Among one of the more notable and impactful exposures are from the burn pits and other fires during the Gulf War in Afghanistan and Iraq. Additionally, there are exposure risks from firefighting chemicals and contaminated drinking water, to name a few. We seek the basics: expanded health care for those who were exposed, the creation of an advisory council, and to reauthorize the Agent Orange authorities which expired in 2015. This issue hits more than the servicemembers — it is a direct impact to the families who are or will be the caregivers. Topic 2: TRICARE Young Adult ParityThere is a glaring disparity between commercial health care plans that cover adult children to age 26 and TRICARE, which requires a separate premium for young adult coverage. In 2013, TYA monthly premiums were $152 for Standard and $176 for Prime; today, those monthly fees are $257 and $459 respectively, which is an unsustainable curve, charting a course for TYA plan failure. The Health Care Fairness for Military Families Act of 2021 (H.R. 475), sponsored by Reps. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) and Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), expand TRICARE eligibility to young adult dependents up to age 26. Learn more about the legislation at this link. Military kids face unique challenges — the average military kid will move six to nine times during their school years and experience repeated family separations. Yet, current law leaves military kids transitioning to adulthood without the same health care protections afforded to families with commercial plans. Ensuring health care access and affordability is particularly important during the current pandemic. As COVID-19 impacts higher education pathways and makes it more difficult for young adults to find jobs, we must ensure military families who have sacrificed so much in support of our nation have the same health care protections for their young adult children as their civilian counterparts covered by commercial plans. Topic 3: Basic Needs AllowanceThis proposed allowance would address our servicemembers and their families who are most vulnerable to food insecurity and are finding it difficult to make ends meet. The subsistence allowance would be provided automatically to servicemembers whose gross household income (not including their Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH) is below 130% of the federal poverty line. This recurring struggle was exacerbated by COVID-19 layoffs. While a small number of servicemembers qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), many do not because their BAH is considered income. These families turn to food pantries instead: The Armed Services YMCA reported a 400% increase in grocery demand at their food pantries on and near military installations during the pandemic. To MOAA Director, Currently Serving and Retired Affairs Lt Col Mark Belinsky's article of 24 February entitled, "Legislation, With Strong Support ," details of the Star Act follows: Nine days after Major Richard Star, USAR, lost his battle with cancer from toxic exposure, Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) reintroduced the Major Richard Star Act (S. 344) with 42 Senators as original cosponsors. The legislation will authorize concurrent receipt of DoD retired pay and VA disability for those injured in a combat zone and forced to medically retire under Chapter 61.
Before Star lost his long-fought battle with cancer, he wanted to make sure his fight for concurrent receipt continued. Advocacy in Action 2021, MOAA President and Chief Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret) View article dated 28 April 2021 by MOAA President and Chief Exceutive Officer Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret) here: Join MOAA’s Advocacy in Action Event. Help Us Make a Difference In Reminder In reminder, MOAA is exempt from federal taxation under Sec. 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code. As such, MOAA and its affiliates must avoid engaging in partisan political activities. View guidance here: MOAA Guidance on Partisan Political Activities Feedback and questions regarding VCOC Federal Legislative Affairs may be directed to CDR Linc Smith, USNR (Ret) at firstname.lastname@example.org. MOAA Take Action Center View the MOAA Take Action Center here: MOAA Take Action Center
A WORLD OF FEDERAL AND STATE LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY
State and Federal Legislators
MOAA Advocacy in Action 2021
Former United States Senator John Warner (R VA) Passes
Shown below in April 2007, left to right, is COL Bill Flanagan, USA (Ret) and VCOC President, Senator John Warner and LTC Pat Green, USA (Ret) and VCOC Vice President. Senator Warner is holding the VCOC Legislative award, a plaque of postage stamps representing milestones during the Senator’s 60 years of service. To his steadfast support of the uniformed services over a lifetime, fair winds and following seas to United States Senator John Warner.