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Saturday, November 04, 2006

NGAUS Legislative Update: 11/3/2006

What’s Happening In Congress?
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

Countdown to Election Day.
Only four more days until Election Day! Next Tuesday, November 7, 2006 millions of Americans will head to the polls to have a say in who will represent them in various levels of the government for the next few years. The candidates chosen by these elections will have an incredibly important role in the decision making throughout our country. Before these chosen representatives take on this responsibility, each one of us has an imperative role in helping to choose who these individuals will be. Be sure to educate yourself on the issues and the candidates in your area…and get out to vote on November 7th.

What’s Happening At NGAUS?
The NGAUS staff has fought long and hard for the benefits that our Guardsmen and their dependents are receiving today. Not only do we continue to fight for new benefits but we continue to keep up to date on any new rules or policy changes made to the current benefits that our Guardsmen and their families are receiving today. Recently the TRICARE Management Activity has issued a news release concerning the reactivation of National Guardsmen and Reservists who are enrolled in TRICARE Prime under the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP).

As a result of new rules, the families of these Guardsmen are able to keep their TRICARE Prime coverage when they re-enroll up to 30 days after their sponsor’s activation. Prior to this new rule, regardless of whether a service member reenrolled their dependants right away, TRICARE Prime coverage did not start right away. This new system eliminates the possibility of a break in coverage and creates a seamless transition from TRICARE Prime coverage under TAMP to the same coverage as a dependent of an active duty service member. Please view the TAMP fact sheet on the TRICARE website for more information on this new policy: TRICARE Fact Sheets.

Make sure to also checkout the TRICARE Reserve Select Handbook and the TRICARE Reserve Select Summary of Beneficiary Costs Flyer at: TRICARE Reserve Select Handbook.

And be sure to follow the TRICARE website as the specific instructions for the TRICARE for all Guard and Reserve becomes available. This hard-won program becomes effective 1 October 2007.

FY07 Defense Appropriations and Defense Authorization Summary.
The legislative team at NGAUS will be posting the final version of their summary of both of these bills in the coming week. You will be able to see both the Appropriations and Authorization information throughout the summary. Make sure to watch the NGAUS website for its posting.

What Can You Do?
Airfare For Active Troops

HR 2115, Flight 100 of the Century Aviation Act, was signed by President Bush 3 years ago on December 17, 2003. This bill included language urging Airlines to "establish for all members of the Armed Forces on active duty reduced airfares that are comparable to the lowest airfare for ticketed flights; and offer flexible terms that allow members of the armed forces on active duty to purchase, modify, or cancel tickets without time restrictions, fees and penalties."

However, many airlines still do not provide discounted fares for the military. The men and women who are actively serving our country are paying much higher costs to fly home during leave than most of the public pays to fly anywhere. The reason for the higher costs for airfare is that military leave is not always granted a month or even a week in advance. These costs are causing many of our military men and women to not be able to go home to see there loved ones when they have leave time. Please visit the "Blue Star Moms" website at Blue Star Moms: Petition Online to ask the government and 11 major airlines to provide discounted airfare to our activated troops so they can spend time with their loved ones every chance they get.

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