President’s Corner
By John Graham
 
On April 8, Bancroft and Kathleen McKittrick and I participated in the Storming of the Hill and visited the offices of all four members of our congressional delegation.

The emphasis this year was on two SBP related issues.

1.  To repeal the offset from surviving spouse annuities under the military Survivor Benefit Plan for amounts paid by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs as dependency and indemnity compensation. (House bill # HR808, Senate bill # S185) 
2.  To change the effective date for paid-up coverage under the military Survivor Benefit Plan from October 1, 2008, to October 1, 2005. (House bill # 968, Senate bill # 185)

Three secondary issues were also discussed with each member of congress.

1.  Lowering the retirement age for members of the reserve component from age 60 to age 55. (HR783 & 558 and S 639 & 337)
2.  Expanded TRICARE coverage for members of the reserve component. (HR 558 and S 337)
3.  Pushing for full concurrent receipt and eliminating the phase in period. (HR 303 & 1366 and S 558)

Representative Bass and Senator Gregg were not available, but we did meet with their legislative aides.  We were able to meet with Representative Bradley and Senator Sununu.

Congressman Bass is not a co-sponsor of HR 808.  His primary concern is where the funding for this program will come from.  He does not want to unintentionally pass on the costs to members currently paying into the SBP system.

On the paid up for life SBP date his aide stated he would discuss it with Bass and get back to us.  Rep. Bass signed on as a co-sponsor of the legislation to lower the RC retirement age and provide additional TRICARE coverage to the RC in February.  He also is a co-sponsor of HR 303 relative to full concurrent receipt.
 





Rep. Bradley is a co-sponsor of all the house bills that we discussed with him. Congressman Bradley is one of our staunchest supports in the US House.

Sen. Gregg’s longtime aide Frank Barca stated due to his leadership position Sen. Gregg felt that it was inappropriate for him to sign on as a co-sponsor of the various bills we discussed.  He did state that the senator was sympathetic to our issues and other veterans’ issues. 

Sen. Sununu was aware of all the issues that we discussed with them, but was not familiar with the individual bills we mentioned.  He directed his staff to look at all of them and make a recommendation. Following our visit the Senator did sign on as a co-sponsor of S.558.

Now it is up to all of us at the grassroots level to convince our congressional delegation to support our legislative agenda.  Specifically, we need to convince our senators to sign on as co-sponsors of Senate Bill 185, which is one of the primary legislative goals of MOAA for the current session.  Likewise we need to have Congressman Bass sign on to the bills dealing with SBP.

John A. Graham

Scholarship Program Support
By John Graham

Planning a cruise or other vacation? Consider this: MOAA Vacations, the official travel agency of our national organization, has instituted a TurnKey Group Travel program. This program offers you the ability to save money and the opportunity to travel with their fellow MOAA members from across the nation. 

If you choose to travel on one of these Chapter Groups (“Selected Journeys”) MOAA Vacations will make a donation to our chapter’s scholarship fund for every member who travels on one of these groups. Regardless of what you select, the Chapter will earn $50 per room or cabin. 

All of the current Selected Journeys are available online at www.MOAAvacations.com, click on the “Selected Journeys” tab. Or call (800) 211-5107 and ask for the Selected Journeys brochure.  Copies of this brochure will also be available at our future luncheons.



 

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