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Saturday, October 28, 2006

NGAUS Leg: What’s Happening In Congress? 10/27/06

Free Life Insurance for Combat Troops.

Thanks to an amendment from U.S. Representative John Spratt (SC) that was included in the defense authorization bill, troops in combat will now receive free life insurance. The amendment provides payment of all premiums incurred by military personnel for Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage up to the maximum amount of $400,000. This will allow each service member serving in Iraq and Afghanistan to take the full amount of life insurance available and not have to worry about any of the costs associated with it. Troops will receive reimbursement for all premiums paid while serving in a combat theater.


The Veteran’s Compensation Cost-of-Living Act of 2006 S.2562 has passed Congress and become public law 109-361. This law requires the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs to increase the compensation rate for veterans with service connected disabilities and the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation rates for survivors of disabled veterans whose deaths were rated to be service connected at the same rate as the Social Security title II benefits. The new rates will become effective on Dec. 1, 2006.

Congressional Calendar.

Nov 7 - Election Day
Nov 9 - Reconvenes for introduction of bills only
Nov 13 - Congress returns to work
Nov 15 - House elects GOP leaders
Nov 16 - House elects Democratic leaders
Nov 17 - Thanksgiving recess target
Dec 4 - Congress returns this week if necessary to complete work

Update on Anthrax Vaccinations.

On October 16, the Department of Defense announced that mandatory anthrax vaccines will resume within 60 days. DoD officials have said that The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has continually found, and independent medical experts have confirmed, that the anthrax vaccine is safe and effective. The principal defense deputy for health affairs, Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr, said that more than 200,000 military personnel, along with emergency-essential DoD civilians and contractors will be vaccinated.

What’s Happening At NGAUS?

Major General Umbarger Visits NGAUS Headquarters.

NGAUS Chairman, Major General R. Martin Umbarger, spent some time in Washington, D.C. this week meeting and getting to know the NGAUS full-time staff. General Umbarger was elected as the new NGAUS Chairman at the 128th General Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He spent time this week at NGAUS headquarters meeting with department directors and various other staff, and he also attended an award luncheon for Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA), House Government Reform Committee.

Upcoming Events at NGAUS.

Winter in Washington brings many important dates for the staff at NGAUS. The Committee on Finance will meet in Charleston, South Carolina, 3-5 November. State visits are beginning with the Wyoming National Guard Association on November 15, the Kentucky National Guard Association on January 16-17, and the Montana National Guard Association on January 30. November 17-19 will bring in the NGAUS Board of Directors for their Winter Meeting in Washington. And, On December 6th, Industry Day will be held at the National Guard Memorial Building in Washington, D.C.

What Can You Do?

11 days and counting…...The midterm elections are getting closer. Time is running out and it is important that you make these final days count before Election Day. Remember these candidates may be representing you in the near future. Share the Guard story with them. Every vote counts!

Published by the NGAUS Legislative Staff:

Brig Gen (ret) Richard M. Green, Director
Chris DeBatt, Army Programs
Bernie Phelps, Senior Legislative Analyst
Emily Breitbach, Legislative Analyst
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