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Friday, February 16, 2007

NGAUS Legislative Update: 2/16/2007

What’s Happening In Congress?

FY 2007 Spending Bill Clears.
On Wednesday, the Senate passed a $463.5 billion spending measure to provide funding to programs covered in the nine appropriations bills that went unfinished from the 109th Congress. The Democratic leadership excluded any new earmarks and used a parliamentary procedure commonly known as “filling the amendment tree” to block additional amendments. Along with this maneuver the Senate waited until two days before the continuing resolution expired to address the measure, making it virtually impossible to vote against.

A looming problem is that $3.1 billion meant to implement 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list was not included in the final continuing resolution. The Democratic leadership has pledged to address this shortfall and others in the upcoming emergency war supplemental, which Congress is expected to take up next month.

MGIB Legislation Introduced.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers held a press conference yesterday to introduce their new “Total Force Montgomery GI Bill”. Senator Blanche Lincoln (AR) along with Representatives Vic Snyder (AR), John Boozman (AR), Loretta Sanchez (CA) and Stephanie Herseth (SD) were all present to discuss this update to the Montgomery GI Bill is so important. Senator Susan Collins is also an original cosponsor, but was unable to attend the announcement.

The legislation is intended to modernize the MGIB to ensure that members of the Guard and Reserve receive education benefits that are commensurate to their increased service to this nation. It would integrate all MGIB programs under Title 38, thus allowing proportionate changes to Selected Reserve benefits each time the Active Duty benefit is increased. The legislation would also provide a month-for-month active duty benefit eligibility and a 10 year period in which to use benefits once you separate from service.

Please contact your Senators and Representatives to let them know how important this legislation is to the future of the men and women in the National Guard.

What’s Happening At NGAUS?

Senator Hutchison Receives Award.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) was presented with a 2006 Charles Dick Medal of Merit from NGAUS this week. Senator Hutchison is the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and the only Senator to receive this award in 2006. The award was presented to her at the annual Congressional breakfast sponsored by the National Guard Association of Texas.

What Can You Do?

Will Non-Production of the C-17 Affect your National Guard Unit?
The FY2008 President’s Budget includes no funding for continued production of the C-17 Globemaster III. The C-17 provides the most advanced airlift capability in the world and has the unique capability to operate in both strategic and tactical airlift modes. It is the best suited aircraft to meet our growing foreign policy demands as well as emerging Homeland Security and disaster response requirements.

The NGAUS membership passed Resolution No. C-6 at the 128th General Conference, “Relating to Procurement and Assignment of C-17 Globemaster III Aircraft,” which recommends funding for C-17 procurement.

States that either currently operate this aircraft or hope to in the future as a replacement mission for losses from the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure include: New York, Hawaii, Alaska, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

If you or another unit in your state will be affected by the lack of funding for this program, contact your Senators and Representatives immediately to express your concerns.

Don’t forget that the NGAUS 2007 CACO Conference will be held on March 5 to 6. Check our website for more information and a draft agenda for the event!

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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