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Friday, December 15, 2006

NGAUS Legislative Update: 12/15/2006

What’s Happening In Congress?

CNGR Hearings.
The Commission on the National Guard and Reserve conducted hearings this week on Wednesday and Thursday. Speaking on the Third panel of witnesses were Major General R. Martin Umbarger, The Adjutant General of Indiana and Chairman of the Board of NGAUS, Major General Frank Vavala, The Adjutant General of Delaware, and Major General Raymond F. Rees, The Adjutant General of Oregon. This final panel spoke on behalf of the National Guard and offered its perspective on the empowerment of the National Guard. The Commission asked many questions relating to needed changes in law and policies affecting the National Guard's role and status. MG Umbarger, MG Vavala, and MG Umbarger provided expert testimony and made recommendations that would ensure the best future for the National Guard and the nation’s security.

National Guard on NPR.
On Tuesday, November 12th NPR featured a newscast on Talk of the Nation that focused on the future of the National Guard. Guests on the segment included:

Brigadier General Stewart Rodeheaver, Deputy Commanding General, First Army, Fort Gillem Georgia; Recently commanded the 48th Brigade Combat Team of the Georgia Army National Guard.

Major General Michael Davidson, Former Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for National Guard Matters

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee

Senator Saxby Chambliss, Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee

To hear the Senators response to the questions raised visit: NPR.

Democratic Committee Appointees.
Incoming House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, recently announced Democratic committee assignments. On the influential Appropriations Committee are three new Democrats and seven returning members. The three new democrats include Barbara Lee, Adam B. Schiff, and Michael Honda all Representatives from the state of California. The returning members on the committee include Representatives Tom Udall of New Mexico, Betty McCollum of Minnesota, C.A. Dutch Ruppersburger of Maryland, Tim Ryan of Ohio, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida, Ben Chandler of Kentucky, and Ciro D. Rodriguez of Texas.

Representative Barbara Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and also chairs the Progressive Caucus, the most liberal group in the House. It is likely that Lee will attempt to pare the defense budget, and possibly the Iraq war funding.

Ban on Disrupting Military Funerals.
S 4042, a bill that prohibits disruptions of funerals of members or former members of the Armed Forces, cleared Congress on December 9. The bill, sponsored by Senator Richard Durbin, makes it a criminal misdemeanor to intentionally make a noise or diversion at a funeral or within 150 feet of such a service punishable by a fine or up to one year in jail. The measure was in response to protests at funerals by members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Westboro members believe that U.S. troops are being killed in Iraq as divine retribution for the U.S.’s tolerance of homosexuality.

What’s Happening At NGAUS?

Representative Bordallo Receives Award from Guam’s National Guard.
Members of the National Guard of Guam visited NGAUS headquarters today and presented Representative Madeline Bordallo with the Charles Dick Medal of Merit. This award was established in 1988 and is designed to recognize the contributions to the National Guard by elected representatives to legislative bodies at the state and national levels. It is named in honor of Major General Charles Dick, president of the National Guard Association of the United States from 1902 to 1909, a major general in the Ohio National Guard, a Congressman and later a Senator. Following the Award presentation, Richard Green gave the group a Legislative update on the objectives and priorities for FY 2008.

The NGAUS staff enjoyed meeting with all of the Guam National Guard members, Representative Bordallo and her staff members and look forward to the many more states that will be taking a trip to Washington in the near future.

Happy Holidays From NGAUS!!

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

For more information on NGAUS, check out our website: NGAUS.
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