Weekly newsletter of the Fleet Reserve Association
June 15 2018
In this issue:
Stalled NDAA has TRICARE Fee Increase and More
FRA Hosts Coast Guard Breakfast
Veterans Homelessness Increasing
URGENT! Stalled Senate NDAA has TRICARE Fee Increase and More
Senate consideration of its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has stalled over deliberation of floor amendments. Several Senators; (Bob Corker (Tenn.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah) have placed procedural roadblocks to moving the bill forward until they get commitments that their amendments will be voted on by the Senate. An agreement on amendments is expected soon and the Senate is expected to finish work on Senate amendments and pass the bill next week.
The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) version of the NDAA (S.2987) that was approved earlier, will increase TRICARE fees on retirees younger than age 65 who retired before January 1, 2018. The provision in the SASC bill (S.2987) would increase TRICARE Prime annual fees (currently $282 for individuals/$565 for families) to $350 for individuals/$700 for families. TRICARE Select annual (currently $150 for individuals/$300 for families) would increase to $450 for individuals and $900 for families. These increases are achieved by repealing the "grandfather clause" created with the 2017 NDAA.
The SASC approved bill also provides a cap on fee increases for residents at the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH). It prohibits AFRH from removing residents solely because they cannot afford the fee increase. In addition, there are pending FRA supported floor amendments expanding concurrent receipt and repealing the SBP/DIC offset for military widows.
Members are strongly urged to use the FRA Action Center located on the website to ask their Senators to oppose the TRICARE fee increase provision, support the fee increase cap for the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH), support the concurrent receipt amendment and support the SBP/DIC offset repeal.
FRA Hosts 20th Annual Coast Guard Caucus Breakfast
The Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) hosted the 20th Coast Guard Caucus Breakfast. The annual event is held to expand awareness of the Coast Guard's varied missions, recognize their remarkable service to our nation and promote dialogue between members of Congress and key Coast Guard leaders. FRA's National President William Starkey, National Executive Director (NED) Tom Snee, recently confirmed Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (MCPOCG) Jason Vanderhaden and a number of Coast Guard officers and senior enlisted leaders participated in discussions about the needs of U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) personnel.
The Coast Guard Caucus is a bipartisan group of 27 lawmakers who share a common interest in the Coast Guard. Caucus co-chairman in attendance included Representatives Frank LoBiondo (NJ) John Garamendi (CA) and Duncan Hunter (CA.).
NED Snee and National President thanked the assembled Coast Guard personnel and caucus members in his opening remarks and then introduced Commandant Schultz. The Commandant thanked FRA for hosting the event and for actively supporting the U.S. Coast Guard. The newly confirmed Commandant took questions from attendees. Other legislators in attendance include Reps Joe Courtney (Conn.), Walter Jones (N.C.), David Rouzer (N.C.), and Ralph Abraham (La).
Veterans Homelessness Increasing
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson recently speaking at the National Coalition for Veterans Homelessness annual convention noted that there is a nationwide rise in veteran's homelessness. This is the first time in seven years that advocates for homeless veterans are faced with a backslide in progress on the issue. Federal estimates on the number of homeless veterans nationwide declined from 74,000 in 2010 to about 40,000 in 2016, but saw a small rise last year.
In 2010, the Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA) established a goal of eliminating veteran homelessness by
2015. That goal has not been achieved. HUD, the Department of Labor and the VA
have a wide range of programs that try to prevent homelessness among veterans,
including health care, housing solutions, job training and education.