FRA's 2013 Legislative Agenda
FRA will fight to
preserve and enhance benefits and quality-of-life programs for active,
Reserve, retired, and veterans of the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard,
plus their families and survivors. The Association will continue
its opposition to sequestration (automatic budget cuts) as mandated by
the 2011 Budget Control Act due to its adverse impact on
Department of Defense and Department of Veterans' Affairs health care
programs and other benefits. FRA’s legislative agenda is listed
Expand Health Care Options
Care Reform Monitor health care reform and ensure
that TRICARE and VA health care programs are not adversely impacted by
unanticipated consequences during implementation.
Excessive TRICARE Enrollment Fee Increases - The Defense Department must sufficiently
investigate and implement other options to make TRICARE more
cost-efficient as alternatives to shifting costs to TRICARE
beneficiaries and oppose any indexing of future TRICARE fee increases
beyond COLA increases.
Support Adequate Funding for the Defense Health
Program - Ensure adequate funding for the
Defense Health Program in order to meet readiness needs, fully fund
TRICARE and improve access and awareness of benefits for all
beneficiaries, regardless of age, status or location, including
Reservists participating in TRICARE Reserve Select,
TRICARE Retired Reserve and Individual Ready Reserve
DOD/VA Health Care Resource
Sharing – Ensure
adequate funding for Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of
Veterans Affairs (DVA) health care resource sharing in delivering
seamless, cost effective, quality services to personnel wounded while
participating in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi
Freedom (OIF), and other veterans and their families.
Pharmaceutical Drug Benefit –
Monitor the pharmacy benefit and ensure that the pharmacies
maintain a broad uniform formulary. FRA supports efforts to
reduce prescription costs through "federal pricing" and other pricing
discount programs, and will encourage increased utilization of home
delivery prescriptions to limit co-pays for beneficiaries and
reduce costs as alternatives to higher fees and co-payments.
Military Retirees to Pay for Healthcare with Pretax
Dollars – Secure authorization for military retirees to pay health insurance premiums
on a pretax basis and to allow for a tax deduction for TRICARE
supplemental insurance premiums.
Protect Personnel Programs
Active Duty Pay - Secure additional annual
active duty pay increases that are at least equal to the Employment Cost
Early Retirement Benefits for Involuntarily Separated
Personnel - Early retirement and other
benefits must be authorized for service members involuntarily separated
with less than 20 years of service -- including the temporary early
retirement authority (TERA) program -- to minimize the impact on
end-strength reductions on career personnel.
Budget – Advocate for a
Defense (DoD) Budget that is at least five (5) precent of the Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) to ensure adequate funding for both personnel and
Military Retail System - Oppose
privatization and ensure adequate funding for the Defense Commissary
Agency (DeCA) to preserve the value of the current benefit and access
for all patrons and oppose consolidation of military exchanges based on
results of costly recent studies on this concept and opposition from the
End Strengths - Track Reserve and
active duty end strength levels to ensure there are an adequate
personnel available to meet the demands of Operations new Dawn and
Enduring Freedom, and other operational requirements, and to minimize
expanding deployment periods and reduced dwell time.
BAH – Reform enlisted housing
standards by allowing E-7s and above to reside in separated homes, track
the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to ensure it is
commensurate with actual housing costs, ensure adequate housing
inventory and that housing privatization
programs are beneficial to service members and their
PCS Reform - Track the Permanent
Change of Station (PCS) process, ensure adequate funding of the
Transition and Relocation Assistance Programs, and authorization
of increased PCS mileage rates and higher household goods weight
limits for senior enlisted personnel. Also advocate for shipment of a
second privately-owned vehicle for accompanied overseas
- Ensure that the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is enforced by
regulatory agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
(CFPB), Office of Military Affairs.
Coast Guard Parity - Ensure parity with DoD of
pay, benefits and housing for Coast Guard personnel, plus
adequate resources for same within the U.S. Coast Guard
Impact Aid Program - Ensure that the
Department of Education has adequate funding to reimburse local school
districts for educating military children and that the DoD budget
includes sufficient supplemental funds to provide support for highly
impacted school districts.
Out-of-Pocket Expenses – Allow full
tax-deductibility of non-reimbursable expenses related to military
training and weekend drill.
Services Recruiters – Work to ensure
that recruiters have unrestricted access to secondary schools,
colleges and universities on the same basis as private sector
Department of Veterans' Affairs
Funding – Support
initiatives to help ensure adequate funding for the VA, with special
attention for VA health care to ensure access and care for all
Blue Water Navy Agent Orange Disability Claims
– Seek to reverse the VA’s policy that
prevents “blue water” military retirees and veterans from
claiming disability benefits for diseases associated with exposure to
Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
VA Fiduciary Program - Ensure adequate oversight
of the VA fiduciary program that cares for the most vulnerable veterans
and streamline regulatory oversight for those who are both caregivers
and fiduicaries and regulated by separate VA programs.
Access Fees – Oppose
establishing a tiered enrollment fee structure for veterans in Priority
Groups 7 and 8 within the VA Health Care System.
VA Claim Processing – Work
to eliminate backlog of claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs and
support reform of the antiquated Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
paper claims system.
Education Enhancements - Ensure full and
timely implementation of improvements to the Post-9/11 GI Bill and work
to improve other education benefit programs for veterans
and survivors of disabled or deceased veterans who died of a
service-connected disability, were killed on active duty or while on
Retirees' Veteran Status – Seek full veteran
status for Reservists with 20 years or more of service, who do not
otherwise qualify for full veteran's benefits under current
Safeguard Retiree Benefits
Military Retired or Retainer Pay - Fight efforts to reduce
military retired or retainer pay and ensure equitable cost-of-living
adjustments (COLAs) for all military retirees commensurate with their
service and sacrifices, oppose efforts to civilianize the military
retirement system, and advocate for rounding up to the next dollar for
retired pay and other benefits.
Receipt - Support legislation authorizing the immediate
concurrent receipt of full military retired pay and veterans’
disability compensation for all disabled retirees.
Retirement Age – Support extension of authority for
early retirement (90 days active duty = 3 months reduction) for all
Reservists who have served since 9/11/01, and the elimination of fiscal
year-specific rules associated with same.
USFSPA - Encourage
the introduction and enactment of legislation to eliminate inequities in
the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act
Retention of Final Month’s Retired
Pay – Support
legislation authorizing the retention of the full final month’s
retired pay by the surviving spouse (or other designated survivor) for
the month in which the member was alive for at least 24
Offset - Support legislation to repeal the
Survivors Benefit Plan/Dependency Indemnity Compensation (SBP/DIC)
offset for surviving spouses of personnel who die of service-connected
SBP at Age 67 – Work to
change the minimum age for paid-up SBP from 70 to 67, which will allow
those who joined the military at age 17, 18 or 19 and served 20 years to
only be required to pay SBP premiums for 30 years.
Base Closures - Support retention of
military treatment and other facilities at BRAC sites that are
patronized by sizeable retiree and Reserve populations and closely
monitor the impact of closures and realignments.