*Legislative Update 13 May 2016: Senate Panel Proposes Health Care Overhaul

We have 1 Action Item today at Issues 1  below



Summary of Issues

At Issue 1. we see A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM MOAA’S PRESIDENT & CEO. Lt Gen Dan Atkins, USAF (Ret) has a personal favor to ask of you. After viewing this short video, take action by clicking here. (Click on A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM MOAA’S PRESIDENT & CEO here or above to watch a 2:31 minute video rationalizing why we should again send this special message to our Legislators, and then send the message to our Legislators, or go to Here is the Process at the end of this Email to send your  message. GF)

At Issue 2. we see SENATE PANEL PROPOSES HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL. Military people deserve better care for higher fees, says committee chair. The Senate’s defense bill also includes Pentagon proposals for reduced forces and caps military pay. (See Issue 2 below for the details. GF)

At Issue 3. we see FORMER SPOUSE SBP COVERAGE OPEN SEASON  Beneficiary changes allowed in some circumstances. The window for action to reassign Survivor Benefit Plan coverage from a deceased former spouse to a current spouse is limited for some. (See Issue 3 below for the details. GF

At Issue 4. we see A MOAA HAIL AND FAREWELLMOAA salutes veteran advocacy champion. The dedication and hard work of Col. Bob Norton, USAR (Ret) led to many legislative victories. (Click on A MOAA HAIL AND FAREWELL here or above to see 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



   (See above for Issues 1 and 4)



May 13, 2016

On May 11, the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee approved its version of the FY17 Defense Appropriations Bill.

Lawmakers disregarded the Pentagon’s requested 1.6 percent military pay raise and significant force cuts. Instead, the subcommittee funded a full 2.1 percent pay raise and provided funding for significant force increases as recommended by their House Armed Services Committee colleagues.

The budget also included a provision specifying funding for shipment of fresh produce to commissaries in the Pacific and Far East, in reaction to publicity about skyrocketing produce prices in Guam.

The subcommittee paid for the increases to the basic budget from special war accounts not subject to budget cap limits.

The administration and some in Congress oppose this controversial tactic, as it would leave only about six months of funding in the wartime account.

House leaders believe this is the best way to improve immediate readiness, and that whoever the new president is will be able to request additional funding to meet wartime needs for the remainder of next year without requiring an exception to budget caps.




May 13, 2016

A change in last year’s Defense Authorization Act lets military retirees’ SBP coverage for a former spouse transfer to a new spouse if the former spouse dies.

The law allows a one-year window after remarriage to cover a new spouse. For people remarried more than a year ago, the law gives them until Nov. 25, 2016 to switch SBP coverage to a current spouse.

This open season period applies ONLY to members who:

  • Had SBP coverage for a former spouse before Nov. 25, 2015, and
  • Whose former spouse died before Nov. 25, 2015, and
  • Who subsequently remarried a new spouse on or before Nov. 25, 2015.

The law change affects reserve component retirees who purchased Reserve Component SBP (RCSBP) as well.

The former spouse SBP open season coverage does not apply if SBP coverage was discontinued for any reason other than the death of the covered former spouse.

Retired members whose SBP-covered former spouse has died and who remarry after Nov. 25, 2015 can apply to DFAS, provided they apply within one year of remarriage.

You can read the specific DFAS guidance concerning eligibility and required documentation here.

(Click on here  above or here to see the document. GF)


Here is the Process I recommend that you review all of the steps below 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 below Congress click on: Military Survivors Need Your Support .
  3. 3.If applicable, at the next screen scroll down to the TAKE ACTION NOW! lineand enter or confirm your Zip code and /or hit “Go!”
  4. 4. Orat that next screen under“COMPOSE MESSAGE” leave the “Message Recipients Delivery Method” as “Email” at your discretion, and then scroll down to “Issue Area” and select an appropriate issue; e.g. ‘Veteran affairs’
  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.
  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.






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