*Legislative Update 18 September 2015: Three Things to Know About Continuing Resolutions

We have 1 Action Item today at issue 1



Summary of Issues

At Issue 1. we see MOAA’S COLA PREDICTION. Consumer prices take another dive. Follow trends on MOAA’s COLA Watch. (See Issue 1 below for the details and to send a related Email to our Legislators. GF) 

At Issue 2. we see THREE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CONTINUING RESOLUTIONSCongress considering CR to prevent shutdown. As Congress wavers between a CR and a shutdown, here are three things you need to know about continuing resolutions.. (See Issue 2 below for the details. GF) 

At Issue 3. we see THE MILITARY COALITION: UNITED PURPOSE, UNITED VOICE 5.5 million members strong. In his September – and final – edition of “The Bottom Line,” MOAA Director of Government Relations Col. Mike Hayden, USAF (Ret) praises the Military Coalition.. (See Issue 3 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





The August Consumer Price Index (CPI) is 233.366, dropping to .4 percent below the FY 2014 COLA baseline. The 2015 COLA will be based on the CPI average from July through September.

With one month to go, the chances of a positive FY 2016 COLA look slim. If there is no growth in CPI, annuitants will not receive an annual COLA. Retirees did not receive COLAs in 2009 and 2010.

In the event of a negative CPI, annuitants will not see a reduction in pay. Congress passed legislation that keeps retired pay flat in the event of a negative COLA.

The CPI for September 2015 is scheduled to be released on October 15, 2015.

Note: Military retiree COLA is calculated based on the CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), not the overall CPI. Monthly changes in the index may differ from national figures reported elsewhere.




And on the related issue:

It looks like the president will use his executive authority to limit the 2016 military pay at 1.3 percent, rather than the 2.3 percent provided under current law. This will be the third consecutive year of capping military pay. Ask your legislators to preserve the 2.3 percent military pay raise.  (Click on MOAA’S COLA PREDICTION here or above and scroll down and click on the “DON’T CUT THE TROOP’S PAY RAISE “TAKE ACTION NOW” button or go to Here is the Processat the end of this Email to send messages to your Legislators. GF)




September 18, 2015

With less than seven legislative working days between now and the end of the fiscal year, Congress appears unlikely to complete work on its annual spending bills in time.

Without a compromise, there could be another government shutdown. To prevent a shutdown, it’s likely Congress will pass some sort of continuing resolution (CR) to keep the lights on.

Here are three things you need to know about continuing resolutions.

1.    Even without a continuing resolution, not everything stops.

In the event of a shutdown, “nonessential” government functions will shutter, but that doesn’t mean everything will close.

Agencies protecting life, limb, and property will remain open. That means the military will continue to work – without pay – but civilian staff may have to stay home.

Programs codified in existing statute, like military retired pay and Social Security, will continue uninterrupted.

However, anything considered “discretionary,” like defense spending and processing of new VA disability and Social Security claims, will be halted.

2.    CRs aren’t that uncommon.

Unfortunately, CRs aren’t uncommon. The last time Congress passed all of its annual appropriations bills in time was almost 20 years ago with the FY 1997 budget. CRs can last for as little as a day or as long as an entire fiscal year.

3.    CRs are costly.

CRs create massive inefficiencies for the government. Every time Congress heads towards a CR, federal agencies and departments have to spend time creating guidelines for offices and develop new spending plans.

CRs usually contain provisions stipulating that money can only be spent on what was approved the previous year.

Effectively, that means the government goes into a hiring freeze. Since agencies lack the authority to hire replacements, it also means potentially delaying termination of bad employees.

For the military, it means not spending money on new bullets, planes, or infrastructure. Delaying purchasing decisions on new weapon systems drives up per unit cost. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work recently lamented, “There is no organization on this earth that would be able to remain in business, operating under these conditions.”

On the military personnel side, CRs wreak havoc on force management. The services have to go to Congress to get special permission to provide bonus pays and incentives.

In an interview with Defense One, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said DoD has the ability to maneuver for about three months under a CR, but any longer proves much more difficult. “It creates a lot of work, a lot of churn, and a lot of confusion for everybody involved.” “Nobody is a fan of CRs,” said Welsh. “Nobody.”


(Click on THREE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CONTINUING RESOLUTIONS here or above to see the CR trend over the past 16 years. GF)



By: Col. Mike Hayden, USAF (Ret)Director, Government Relations 


About the Author

Hayden served a 25-year military career in air and space operations, personnel, recruiting, training, and education. He compiled more than 2,800 flying hours as a B-52 instructor radar navigator and commanded an Air Force recruiting squadron in Detroit. He spent his last five years on active duty at the Pentagon as chief of the Military Personnel Policy Division, HQ USAF, and as chief, Personnel Services Division, for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As the Military Personnel Policy Division chief, he and his team developed and implemented a one-year drawdown of more than 24,000 airmen. In the latter position, he worked with MOAA in winning Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) coverage for survivors of servicemembers killed on active duty.

Hayden holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida.

He joined MOAA’s Government Relations team in July 2005, focusing on active duty and retiree compensation issues.


We get more done on Capitol Hill when the military community comes together with one powerful voice. Formed in 1985, The Military Coalition (TMC) works hard to project a clear, united message to Congress.

A powerful consortium of over 30 military, veterans and uniformed services organizations, TMC celebrates its 30th anniversary this winter. The Coalition serves one united purpose: to maintain a strong national defense, provided by recruiting and retaining highly skilled and capable personnel.

While each association has its own programs and goals, the Coalition forges a common agenda each year and testifies before Congress on critical national defense issues.

The Coalition’s strength lies with its membership: 5.5 million collective members. Those numbers provide two things on Capitol Hill: access and, most importantly, influence. When the membership is an active participant in the legislative process, members of Congress act.

At times, not all the associations agree on a position, but that is one of the key strengths of the Coalition. Being able to come together and discuss the pros and cons of military compensation and benefits proposals delivers a greater understanding of the implications at hand.

The Coalition is instrumental in educating Congress on the need to improve pay, benefits, and the quality of life programs of the uniformed service community and their families.

The work of the Coalition speaks for itself: over the course of the century’s first decade it persuaded Congress to close a 13.5 percent pay gap between military and private sector pay, eliminate out-of-pocket housing expenses, and increase force levels to meet mission requirements.

Thanks to the Coalitions efforts, the entire uniformed service community realized enhancements to survivor and disability benefits, reserve health care coverage, transition protections for wounded warriors, and the creation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, just to name just a few.

I’ve had the privilege to be a member of the Coalition for over ten years, and had the honor to serve as co-chair for the past two. For my last submission to “The Bottom Line”, I wanted to pay tribute to the Coalition.

As of today, I turn things over to Col. Steve Strobridge, USAF (Ret). As someone who has previously been a TMC co-chair, he also understands the importance of the Coalition in getting things done on Capitol Hill.

At a time when politicians continue to try to balance the budget on the backs of the military, the work of the Coalition is more important now than ever before.

The Bottom Line: The Military Coalition remains a powerful force and is essential in protecting military benefits




Here is the Process:  There are some minor changes below this week and if the steps below are new to some, I recommend that you review all of the steps and then you might want to copy this process by high lighting all of the steps below.  Then click on “File” at the top of your screen, select “Print“, then click on “Selection” at the next display and then hit “Print“; or print the selected portion as you usually do this kind of task.


  1. Click here onhttp://capwiz.com/moaa/issues/ or copy and paste it in your browser to put you at the  “Legislative Action Center” screen.
  2. Scroll downunder “Current Action Alerts” and click on “Don’t Cut the Troops’ Pay Raise”.
  3. At the next screen scroll down to the TAKE ACTION NOW! lineand enter or confirm your Zip code and /or hit “Go!”
  4. At the next screen under“COMPOSE MESSAGE” leave the recipients area checked at your discretion.
  5. Scroll down to the  “Editable text” areaand edit/modify the text of the message if desired,
  6. Insert “Your Closing” (I show ‘Respectfully), and “Your Name” and fill in the rest of the mandatory {asterisked} SENDER INFORMATION. The “Phone”number is now required by some Legislators (it’s required if your Senator is from Arizona) .
  7. Fill in the “Guest Type“, “Service“, “Rank“, “Component“, and “Status” if you want that information to show in your message (recommended).  You may be prompted to include a phone numberif you try to send the message without entering your phone number. Don’t be concerned about entering a phone number. I haven’t  received return calls except on rare occasions to thank me for my interest in a particular piece of Legislation, at which time you can comment (pro or con) to the staff member on how the Senator stands on the issue.
  8. Check “Remember Me” (recommended) if you don’t want to have to re-enter all of your Sender Information the next time you send a message. You can always change your information or uncheck ‘Remember Me’ anytime in the future.
  9. Hit “Send Message”
  10. If Printed Letter was selected at Step 4 above, at the screen after hitting “Send Message” leave “Plain Paper Style” and “Word Processor (RTF)” checked unless you have another preference. Then left click on “Print Letter(s)” at the end of the “PRINT LETTER” screen. At the File Download” alert that appears next, click on “Open”. You can then edit and print or save the letter for editing, printing, signing and mailing.
  11. For Arizona residentsbecause of some current problems with contacting Sen Flake by Email,you will see after hitting “Send Message” at Step 9 above, that “Printed Letter” is the most readily observable option for getting your message to him. Step 10 above tells you how to do that..





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