NDAA Conference Begins

Sunday, July 12, 2015 / Legislative News

WASHINGTON - Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement on the naming of conferees by Speaker Boehner (R-OH) to serve on the formal House-Senate Conference committee to resolve the differences in the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act, to read the entire new release click here.  

Carper - Durbin - Blumenthal close Federal 90/10 Loophole

Sunday, July 12, 2015 / Legislative News

WASHINGTON – This past week Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) was joined by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced the introduction of legislation that would close a loophole in the law that allows for-profit schools to receive 100 percent of their funding from the federal government.  To read the entire article click here.  

Military Justice Reform Act of 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015 / Legislative News

I want to inform everyone of a pending piece of legislation that Senators Ayotte and Gillibrand are planning to offer as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. We believe this is important legislation and hope you will, too. 

The idea behind the legislation is that innocent military family members who endure significant sacrifices over many years should not be deprived of benefits they would have been afforded just because the service member is convicted of a crime in which the family was innocent.  Specifically:

Veterans denied disability benefits by VA

Sunday, June 28, 2015 / VA News

A Central Florida veteran is fighting for his life, as well as disability and insurance benefits, after he said the kidney cancer that is costing him his life was caused by water contamination at Camp Lejeune. He said thousands of others are in the same boat, many of whom, live in Central Florida. He said many might not even be aware their illnesses could possibly have been caused by the toxic water.

To read the full article, click here. 

Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act

Monday, March 9, 2015 / Legislative News

Did you know that every day on average, 22 veterans commit suicide?  The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act will help the Department of Veterans Affairs study new strategies for suicide prevention and give student loan incentives to recruit psychiatrists to work with veterans.

The Act complements VA’s ongoing, multi-faceted efforts to improve mental health care for our nation’s veterans, and I’m pleased that both houses of Congress came together to pass the SAV Act. I’m proud to stand with President Obama today as he signs this important legislation.              

The VA has many entry points for care: medical centers, more than 800 community-based outpatient clinics, 300 Vet Centers that provide readjustment counseling, the Veterans Crisis Line, VA staff oncollege and university campuses, and the VA is offering expanded access to mental health services with longer clinic hours, telemental health capabilityto deliver services, and standards that mandate rapid access to mental health services.

2014 National Defense Authorization Act

Saturday, December 6, 2014 / Legislative News

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 is the key mechanism to provide necessary authorities and funding for America’s military. This is the fifty-second consecutive NDAA. The legislation meets Chairman McKeon’s goal of providing for a strong defense in an era of uncertain and declining resources. The total funding authorized reflects the will of the House to provide our troops the resources they need to meet a dangerous world. However, Chairman McKeon also recognizes that, more than ever, the impacts of rapid defense cuts, FY13 sequestration, and the prospect of future sequester cuts in the years to come, will force our warfighters to be not only keen stewards of our national security, but to maximize value for every taxpayer dollar. To that end, this legislation supports and protects our warfighters and their families; addresses ongoing and emerging conflicts with resolve and accountability; protects America today while making wise choices.

Defense Policy Bill Talks Stumble Over Military Benefits Dispute

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 / Legislative News

By Megan Scully, CQ Roll Call

Negotiations on the final defense policy bill have stalled amid disagreements between House and Senate Armed Services committee leaders over issues affecting military benefits, congressional sources tracking the bill said Tuesday.

Committee leaders had hoped to finalize the negotiated bill early this week, but they have reached an impasse over differences in the two measures on cost-saving Pentagon proposals to increase some TRICARE pharmacy co-pays and reduce the basic housing allowance for military personnel.

Senate Committee on Armed Services Completes Markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2015

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 / Legislative News

The bottom line of the mark-up includes:

  • Includes the Department’s proposals concerning the pay raise (1 percent rather than the 1.8 percent under current law), the housing allowance (allowing the Department to increase BAH at a rate below inflation), and increased pharmacy copays for prescriptions filled outside of military treatment facilities.
  • Does not include the Department’s proposals to establish enrollment fees for TRICARE for Life beneficiaries, the reorganization of the TRICARE program, or the cut to the commissary subsidy (although it does authorize the commissaries to purchase and sell generics).

House Passes Defense Authorization Bill

Friday, May 23, 2014 / Legislative News

By Connor Obrien, CQ Roll Call

The House Thursday passed its fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill by a wide bipartisan margin, on the same day the Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to approve its own measure.  The House advanced 325-98 the annual defense policy legislation (HR 4435) after disposing of 169 amendments, debating all proposals Wednesday night and holding a rapid-fire vote session Thursday morning before final passage.

Thursday’s vote puts the authorization measure on the path to enactment for the 53rd consecutive year. At the outset of floor debate, House Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., who will retire from Congress at the end of his current term, called

40 U.S. veterans die while on Phoenix VA hospital's cost-cutting secret wait list

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 / VA News

At least 40 U.S. veterans have died waiting for medical appointments at Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system undefined including many placed on a secret waiting list.  The list was part of a complex cost-cutting scheme set up by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix aiming to hide the fact that between 1,400 and 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait up to 21 months to see a doctor, according to whistle-blowing retired top VA doctor and high-level sources.

Internal emails reveal managers at Arizona’s VA hospital knew about the practice and even condoned it.  Retiring Dr. Sam Foote, who spent 24 years with the VA system, told CNN that the Phoenix VA worked off two patient appointment lists.  The "official" list shows the VA was offering timely appointments within 14 to 30 days. Foote called this a “sham list” because there was another secret document where waits were much longer.