Friday, March 17, 2006

National Guard Legislation: 3-17-2006

Tricare Premium Hikes

The House and Senate took actions this week to address the Department of Defense’s effort to raise TRICARE premiums for military retirees. According to the Department of Defense (DoD), premiums for retiree TRICARE have remained the same since the programs inception in 1995. On Wednesday, Senator Lindsey Graham, Chairman of the Personnel Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, noted that the DoD’s plan would increase the premiums 115% within two years. On Tuesday, Representative Walter Jones (NC), member of the House Armed Services Committee and Chet Edwards (TX), ranking member of the House Military Quality of Life Appropriations Subcommittee introduced legislation that would block the Department’s plan to raise premiums.

FY06 Supplemental
A supplemental appropriations bill is expected to pass The House of Representatives. The measure would include $91.8 billion in supplemental appropriations bill to cover the cost of war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina recovery. The legislation provides $4.2 billion for foreign aid and $19.1 billion for hurricane relief. In addition, $67.6 billion would be programmed to support military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.The measure was expected to pass the House before the end of business on Thursday.

Guard Chief Testifies
Last Friday, LT GEN H. Steven Blum, Chief of NGB, testified to the Emerging Threats Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee about the ongoing needs for Guard equipment. One of the many top post-Katrina needs identified at the panel meeting included satellite communications equipment. The Subcommittee received testimony that the Guard requires a boost in funding for to replace equipment that that which was lost or left in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Oregon State Guard Visits
On Tuesday, March 14, the Oregon National Guard Association and members of the Oregon Adjutant General’s department visited Washington. The group was briefed by NGAUS staff prior to their Congressional office visits and then joined the Oregon Association for a well-attended reception in NGAUS’ Hall of States. The reception was highlighted by remarks by the TAG, MG Rees, Congressman Pete DeFazio, and an exceptional video of the recent activities of the Oregon Guard.

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Published by the NGAUS Legislative Staff:
Brig Gen (ret) Richard M. Green, Legislative Director
Scott Hommel, Deputy Director
Michele Traficante, Joint Programs
Chris DeBatt, Army Programs
Andy Vanlandingham, Air Programs
Bernie Phelps, Senior Legislative Analyst

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