2017 Legislative Priorities
Over more than 15 years of war, service members and their families never failed to answer the call, proudly sacrificing in order to protect our Nation. They made these sacrifices trusting that our government would provide them with resources to keep them ready. Recent national fiscal challenges have left military families confused and concerned about whether the programs, resources, and benefits contributing to their strength, resilience, and readiness will remain available to support them and be flexible enough to address emerging needs.
The Department of Defense (DoD) must provide the level of programs and resources to meet this standard. Sequestration weakens its ability to do so. Service members and their families have kept trust with America with multiple deployments and separations. Unfortunately, that trust is being tested.
During the 115th Congress, our Association will fight to ensure military families have the tools they need to meet the challenges ahead. In particular, we will:
Pay, Compensation, and Commissary
- Fight for annual pay raises tied to the Employment Cost Index (ECI) as prescribed by law; protect the pillars of compensation, such as the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), that were designed to partially offset the extraordinary conditions of military service.
- Strongly oppose changes to the commissary system that may lead to higher prices and reduce the quality of life for military families. Urge transparency and oversight with the transformation process.
- Partner with the Defense Health Agency (DHA) to ensure beneficiary perspectives are considered on implementation of FY17 NDAA Military Health System reform provisions and the T17 contracts and seek adjudication from Congress as necessary.
- Continue to advocate for military families’ enhanced access to high quality care - in both the direct and purchased care segments - including the elimination of administrative burdens that create barriers to access. Work to re-establish access standards that are used to hold the system accountable.
- Ensure military children with life threatening conditions have access to hospice services without having to forego curative care similar to children covered by Medicaid and commercial health plans.
Military Family Members with Special Needs
- Advocate for enhanced Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) benefits that more closely align with state Medicaid waiver services to achieve the legislative intent of a comparable program for military families who can’t access Medicaid waivers due to frequent moves and long state-specific wait lists.
- Fully fund Department of Education Impact Aid and increase funding provided through DoD Impact Aid, to ensure that public schools serving military children have adequate resources.
- Reauthorize the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Grant program, which provides targeted, evidence-based support to schools serving large numbers of military-connected children.
Military Spouse Employment
- Offer a tax credit or DoD grant to spouses who need to obtain a new professional license or certification following a PCS move.
Transitioning Service Members and Families
- Extend eligibility to Military OneSource for one year after separation or retirement.
- Advocate for the Services to provide military families with greater flexibility in timing their relocation either before or after a service member’s permanent change of station (PCS) report date.
Wounded Veterans and Caregivers
- Pursue solutions to the complex problems faced by Medicare-eligible wounded veterans including loss of TRICARE coverage and increased out-of-pocket expenses.
- Pursue the elimination of the Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (SBP-DIC) Offset.