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Friday, December 08, 2006

NGAUS Legislative Update: 12/8/2006

What’s Happening In Congress?

$3 Billion For Veterans’ Benefits?
Efforts to kill a Military Construction-VA appropriations bill were abandoned in Congress this week. Earlier plans to make up for this abandonment by adding an additional $3 billion for veterans’ benefits to a stopgap spending bill, also known as a continuing resolution (CR), is not likely to happen. Although increased funding for veterans’ healthcare will probably be included in the final conferenced MilCon-VA ppropriations bill. The current resolution will expire at midnight tonight. The House is expected to vote on the new stopgap measure today which leaves the Senate with little time to clear this bill and send it over to the White House.

Gates Hearing.
Robert M. Gates was confirmed by the Senate to replace current Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as the new Secretary of Defense on Dec. 7. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky cast the only two opposing votes.

CNGR Hearing Scheduled.
The Commission on the National Guard and Reserves will be focusing on proposals that would strengthen and elevate the role of the National Guard at a Capitol Hill hearing scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14. Provisions from two bills introduced in the 109th Congress will be assessed, including:

Increasing responsibilities of the NGB in the Department of Defense.
Make the Chief of the NGB a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Expand the role of the Chief of NGB.
Increase the rank of the Chief of the NGB to four stars.
Give NGB more influence in the Pentagon’s budget process.
Create a separate budget for National Guard training and equipment.
Elevate the role of NGB in response to domestic crises.

The hearings will be held in Room 2212 Rayburn House Office Building. More information on this hearing and the Commission can be found on their website at CNGR.

What’s Happening At NGAUS?
Industry Day Held.

The 9th annual NGAUS Industry Day was held on Dec. 6. Attendees received briefings from Richard Green, Lt. Gen. Craig McKinley, Director Air National Guard, Maj. Gen. Terry Scherling, Joint Staff, NGB, Brig. Gen. James Nuttall, Deputy Director Army National Guard, and various other key NGB staff. Also attending was Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., who spoke on equipping issues. Industry Day 2006 had a great turnout and a wonderful event to close the day. The dedication of the new OIF/OEF Exhibit in the National Guard museum took place after the final presentation.

“Industry Day is the cornerstone of building a stronger partnership between the NGAUS, the National Guard and Industry to enhance the modernization and readiness of the Army and Air National Guard.”

Leg Objectives Book Is Out.
The Annual NGAUS Legislative Objectives books arrived late last week and were distributed to over 200 Industry Day participants. The booklet includes information from the resolutions that were passed at the 128th NGAUS General Conference and a descriptive graph on the resolutions Cycle. In the booklet you will find a listing of what our 45,000 members believe are vital to accomplishing their dual state and federal missions. This booklet is essential to the NGAUS mission in order to “Transform Resolutions into Reality”.

What Can You Do?
Educate Yourself!

In order to understand why NGAUS works on a strict Resolutions Cycle it is important to understand the Congressional Budget-making process and know the appropriations timeline. Below is a brief time table to show you what is happening in Congress in regards to the Budget throughout they year. You will notice from the timeline that the budget cycle is not a 12 month process but an 18 month process that continues to cycle year after year no matter what circumstances may arise.

February - Congressional Budget Committees hold hearings. Congressional Appropriation Committees hold hearings.
March 15 - Authorizing Committees to submit their budget reports to the Budget Committee.
March/April - House and Senate Budget Committees to report out their
Concurrent Budget Reports.
By April 15 - Congress should have passed the Budget Resolution.
May-Appropriation Committees make their 302 (b) allocations to the
May 15 - House can begin passing Appropriation Bills even if there is not a Budget Resolution.
By June 30 - House should adopt all of its Appropriations Bills.
July/September -Senate scheduled to pass Appropriation Bills.
September - House and Senate Pass Appropriations Conference Reports.
President signs Appropriations Bills (Should be 13 in total).
October 1 - New Fiscal Year begins

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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