Saturday, September 9, 2006

NGAUS Legislative: Congress Returns

Both the House and Senate returned to work after the month long August recess.

The Senate reconvened and immediately resumed action on the FY07 Defense Appropriations Act. The chamber is expected to pass the bill before the end of the week. Once complete, both the House and Senate must reconcile the differences between the two bills. With the end of the fiscal year looming, both the House and Senate Defense Appropriations members are hoping to complete the final bill before the end of September. Election year politics might overtake final action on the bill, delaying its final passage, NGAUS will continue to update you as the bill progresses.

Some of the items of importance to NGAUS in the Appropriations bill for the Army Guard include: restoring funding for the Joint Cargo Aircraft, funding for Light Utility Helicopter, recapitalization of tracked vehicles for the Army Guard. On the Air National Guard side, maximum funding for F-15 advanced electronic scanned array radars; maintaining funding for F-16 Engine Upgrades; and funding for C-130 color weather radar. NGAUS is also focusing on requesting increased funding for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account.

Defense Authorization

The conference between the House and Senate on the Defense Authorization bill continues. Both chambers are expected to wrap up work on the Authorization bill during the next few weeks.

NGAUS top issues in the Authorization conference include:
-Reconciling differences between House and Senate language on TRICARE. NGAUS supports the more enhanced House version of TRICARE; encourage your Senators to recede to the House language (see Legislative Alert #06-16).

-Addressing Guard Early Access to retirement—the Senate provision would reduce the age in which Guard and Reserve members can access their retirement by 3 months for every 90 days served on active duty since 2001. NGAUS supports the Senate version, as the House does not contain such a provision.

-Guard Empowerment—the Senate included language introduced by Senators Bond and Leahy (provisions of the Guard Empowerment Act) that would promote the Chief of the Guard Bureau to a four-star position, and designate that the deputy commander at NORTHCOM be a Guard member. NGAUS supports the Senate language. To take action, check out our legislative alert #06-18 on the NGAUS Web site.

Guard Caucus Leaders Object to Language

On Thursday, Senators Bond (Mo.) and Leahy (Vt.) addressed a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee requesting that language in the Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 5122) be removed by the committee conferees. The language, Section 511, would authorize the President to take control of the Guard in “a serious natural or manmade disaster, accident, or catastrophe that occurs in the United States, its territories and possession, or Puerto Rico”, without their consent.

NGAUS is opposed to the language included in Section 511 and is working to get the language removed from the final conference bill. See additional information on the NGAUS homepage, #06-13.

NGAUS Conference

The 128th NGAUS General Conference begins next week in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For the uninitiated, the Conference runs from Saturday, September 16 thru Monday, September 18. The conference, hosted by the New Mexico National Guard, will showcase Guard industry contractors, guest speakers at the Business sessions, professional development breakouts and the annual all states’ dinner. For details on the conference, visit our NGAUS Web site: www.ngaus.org.

NGAUS Job Openings

NGAUS has two job openings in its Legislative Affairs department. See the link on the NGAUS homepage for complete details.
“We Serve”

Providing NGAUS members with effective and knowledgeable representation on Capitol Hill.

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


For more information on NGAUS, check out our Web site: www.ngaus.org/.

This post was moved here from DoD Daily News-2.

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