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Friday, February 09, 2007

NGAUS Legit: 2/9/2007

What’s Happening In Congress?

President Releases Defense Budget.
President Bush’s $2.9 trillion fiscal year 2008 budget request provides $481.4 million for the Department of Defenses base budget. Submitted with the budget this year is a supplemental appropriations request for $93.4 billion for continuing needs of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) during 2007 and a request for $141.7 billion in emergency appropriations to fund continuing costs for the GWOT. The funding requested in the 2008 Budget will take the total amount up to $661.9 billion.

The President’s 2008 budget includes funds to: replace or refurbish military equipment lost or damaged in combat or worn out; support the Joint IED Defeat Organization; continue developing Army modularity; expand the Special Operations Command (SOCOM); continue efforts to meet the recommendations accepted by the BRAC Commission; enhance missile defense capabilities; provide an increase in basic pay; and provide access to quality healthcare.

What’s Happening At NGAUS?

State Associations Visit D.C.
This week, delegations from Montana, Tennessee, Connecticut, and Arkansas came to Washington to visit with their members of Congress and promote the priorities that will help ensure readiness in their states.

In most cases, the adjutant general was accompanied by Joint Forces Headquarters personnel, Army and Air Guard commanders and state association leaders. NGAUS was pleased to provide facilities for briefings and help arrange social events where members of the Guard, their Representative, Senators and congressional staff could engage in dialog that ultimately facilitates a better understanding and relationship for all.

Each of these states produced outstanding materials and presentations that clearly identified the resources needed, such as military construction, equipment, force structure allowance, new missions and quality-of-life issues that they need to ensure a trained and ready force.

While members of some states congressional delegations were busy on the Hill attending hearings or performing other duties, nearly all of the military legislative assistants (MLAs) and appropriations staffers, as well as others, were able to participate in the meetings.

NGAUS applauds these states for the great job they did to organize and execute such a positive method of keeping their congressional delegation informed. For many states, this has become a “drill”that they have found works year after year, and we couldn’t agree more.

Establishing good relationships and bringing a number of constituents are sure ways to guarantee meetings with your Senators, Representatives and their staff as well as attendance at your social functions. Also, by holding your event at the National Guard Memorial, it gives NGAUS the opportunity to host you in what we believe to be a first class facility and share the priorities and perspectives that the national NGAUS membership on a believes are in the best interest of the National Guard and our country.

We encourage all states to take advantage of using the National Guard Memorial to stage their visits to Congress. The space is free of charge and assistance is available to arrange catering for social events. It is also a perfect opportunity for all to visit our museum, library, and the other historical artifacts throughout the building.

Draft Agenda for CACO.
A draft agenda for the 2007 Congressional Action Contact Officer Conference has been posted on the NGAUS website at www.NGAUS.org. Just click on the CACO link found on the calendar. While this is a draft agenda, the start and end times are correct. You can use these times to plan your transportation and congressional office visits.

New Air Programs Lobbyist.
The Legislative Department has promoted Emily Breitbach to be the new Air Programs Lobbyist. Emily has been working as a Legislative Analyst for NGAUS since June 2006. She has a degree in Political Science from the University of Iowa, is a former member of the 133rd Test Squadron in Fort Dodge, Iowa and current member of the 112th Air Operations Squadron in State College, Pennsylvania. Her congressional experience comes from serving as an intern in the offices of Congressman Zach Wamp of Tennessee and then-Congressman James Leach of Iowa.

What Can You Do?

Give Back Control.
In last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, changes were made to the Insurrection Act that allows for control of National Guard troops to be taken away from Governors and given to the President in numerous situations. In essence, these changes now make it much easier to federalize the National Guard for domestic law enforcement.

Recently bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate to repeal these changes, which were made without consultation with the nation’s 54 governors. Senators Patrick Leahy and Kit Bond, the co-chairs of the Senate National Guard Caucus, introduced S 513 and Congressman Thomas Davis introduced HR 869.

Spend a few minutes of your time to let your Congressman and Senators know how you feel on this issue by giving them a call or writing them a quick email. You can use the NGAUS website to find their contact information and even to draft a quick email to all of you representatives.

Published by the NGAUS Legislative Staff:
Brig Gen (ret) Richard M. Green, Director
Pete Duffy, Deputy Director
Chris DeBatt, Army Programs
Emily Breitbach, Air Programs
Bernie Phelps, Senior Legislative Analyst

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

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