Legislative Update 17 July 2015: Budget Breakdown in Senate

We have NO Action Items today.



Summary of Issues

At Issue 1. we see JUNE COLA RELEASED Steady climbs to .2% below what it was in 2014 at this time. (See Issue 1 below for the details. GF)


At Issue 2. we see NEW MATERNITY RULES HELP MOTHERSServices go family friendly to keep female troops. New Navy and Air Force policies highlight inconsistencies in the services. (See Issue 2 below for the details. GF)

At Issue 3. we see OPM ADMITS MILITARY AFFECTED BY BREACH21.5 million records impacted by hack. OPM director resigns amid backlash. (See Issue 3 below for the details. GF)

At Issue 4. we see BUDGET BREAKDOWN IN SENATE. Shutdown looms as appropriations work ends. Will we see another government shutdown? (See Issue 4 below for the details. GF)

Collectively We Can and Are Making a Difference


FOR ALL, Please feel free to pass these Weekly Legislative Updates on to your group of Veteran Friends –

don’t be concerned with possible duplications – if your friends are as concerned as we are with Veteran issues, they probably won’t mind getting this from two or more friendly sources




Steady climb continues

Follow the trends on MOAA’s COLA Watch.

 (Click on JUNE COLA RELEASED here or above to see the chart. GF)


Jul 16 2015

Published by Karen at 4:11 pm under Legislation,Military Children,Parenting,Support Services & Resources,Veterans

In a bold move, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus recently tripled the amount of maternity leave available for women in the Navy and the Marine Corps. The new policy extends maternity leave from six weeks to 18 weeks.

Under the new policy, any Navy or Marine servicemember that took convalescent leave following the birth of a child since the first of the year is eligible for the full benefit. The 18 weeks of leave are available to use any time within the first year of the child’s birth. The policy is effective immediately.

The Services have been trying to become more family friendly by taking a hard look at making military service easier on families.

When questioned on the Navy’s new policy at a town hall meeting, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter backed the changes, saying, “We’ve got to keep thinking, sensing and adjusting and not just living with old regulations that harken back to a different era.”

Following Mabus’ announcement, the Air Force announced it will provide a one year exemption from physical training assessments for any female airmen that have had pregnancies lasting at least 20 weeks.

The Air Force is also allowing one-year deferments for new mothers given orders or assignments to where airmen would not be allowed to bring a dependent.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James said, “The goal is to alleviate the strain on some of our talented airmen who choose to leave the Air Force as they struggle to balance deployments and family issues, and this is especially true soon after childbirth.”

The announcements create new disparities between the Services. Previously, all of the Services had a uniform leave policy. At this time, it’s unclear how the other Services will respond to the changes.

The announcements also leave little time for commanders to adapt to the new rules.

MOAA supports the family friendly policy changes, but we think these benefits should extend across all Services.

“Family friendly policies are critical to recruit and retain the best and the brightest in today’s environment,” said Karen Golden, MOAA’s Deputy Director of Government Relations, “but, women in uniform need a uniform policy.”

As the Pentagon works on its Force of the Future initiative, MOAA believes the Services should take a comprehensive review of family friendly policies, including maternity leave and duty assignments.

Click on Force of the Future here or above for more detail. GF)


The scope of the data breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) went well beyond numbers initially reported.

OPM originally thought the cyberattack was limited to 4.2 million records. Upon further scrutiny, investigators concluded that the number of records compromised is closer to 21.5 million. Individuals affected include past and present federal and military employees, as well as any applicants that applied for a clearance since 2000.

Information compromised in the breach includes Social Security numbers, fingerprints, and residency, educational, family, financial, health, employment history.

OPM’s website details the next steps it will take in notifying those affected by the data breach. OPM sent notifications by mail informing people of the services available. These services will be available for at least three years:

  • Full service identity restoration support and victim recovery assistance
  • Identity theft insurance
  • Identity monitoring for minor children
  • Continuous credit monitoring
  • Fraud monitoring services beyond credit files

Several lawmakers on Capitol Hill called for terminating OPM Director Katherine Archuleta. After the intense backlash, she tendered her resignation on July 10.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said, “The breadth of the data breach at the Office of Personnel Management is staggering and unacceptable. We also have an obligation to ensure that those who serve the Department, in or out of uniform, are able to do so securely.”

The Senate now needs to appoint someone capable of handling a crisis of this magnitude and restore faith with the American people that their personal information is secure.

MOAA calls on Congress and the administration to complete a thorough investigation into the data breach, and to implement necessary action to prevent further incidents like these from occurring.


July 17, 2015

As budget negotiations break down in the Senate, a high stakes game of political posturing means the government could be heading towards another shutdown in October.

“The longer we wait, the more likely we face this showdown and shutdown,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

Washington, D.C. will be a relative ghost town in August as lawmakers return to their home districts to meet with constituents. The House and Senate expect to have only 10 days to work together on the defense appropriations bill in September. With such a limited timeframe, many on Capitol Hill are beginning to see the need for a continuing resolution (CR).

Under a CR, DoD is funded at existing levels until Congress can reach an agreement on funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. Without legal authority to spend money, nonessential DoD functions cease.

Sen. Durbin opposes a CR, calling it “a mindless extension of the government budget from the previous year … that is not going to afford us the opportunity to do the right thing or debate important issues.”

Congress cannot come to an agreement over spending cuts imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act, also known as sequestration.

While the House passed its defense appropriation bill in June, the Senate remains stuck at an impasse. Progress on the Senate’s appropriations bill was scuttled due to disagreements over the nature of how the Pentagon would be funded.

Earlier this year the administration requested a Pentagon budget exceeding sequestration’s budget caps by $38 billion. The Senate Appropriations Committee provided the funding requested, but used sequestration-exempt war accounts to pay for base operations. This budgetary gimmick is at the center of the current stalemate. The White House has threatened to veto any defense-spending bill using this method.

“Congress still has time to come to an agreement on funding DoD,” said Col. Mike Hayden, USAF (Ret), MOAA’s Director of Government Relations. “A shutdown scare does nothing but add additional stress to military families.”




That’s it for today- Thanks for your help!