NewsBytes November 12, 2021     

In this issue:
Senate NDAA Expected to Move Forward
House Passes Infrastructure Bill
Ad Council and VA Work to Reduce Veteran Suicides

Senate NDAA Expected to Move Forward
The Senate is expected to consider floor amendments and pass its version of the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) next week. Several of these amendments are supported by FRA. These amendments include:
• Sen. Jon Tester’s (Mont.) amendment with the provisions of the “Major Richard Star Act” (S.344), which would expand concurrent receipt to include Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) beneficiaries who are medically retired with less than 20 years of service;
• Sen. Rob Portman’s (Ohio) amendment with provisions of the “Military Retiree Survivor Comfort Act” (S.1669) that would authorize the retention of the full final month's retired pay by the surviving spouse for the month in which the member was alive for at least 24 hours;
• Sen. Lankford’s (Okla.) amendment repealing the 180-day delay for retirees applying for Defense Department civilian positions GS-13 and below; and
• Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s (Conn.) amendment that would require a joint report from DoD and the VA to designate the next national cemetery that affords full military honors as Arlington National Cemetery reaches capacity and directs DoD to not change ANC eligibility until after the report is submitted.

The House recently passed its version of the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Once both chambers pass their version of the NDAA, a conference committee will be appointed to resolve the differences and create a final bill. This bill will be voted on by each chamber and if approved, will be sent to the president to be signed into law or be vetoed. Members are strongly urged to use the FRA Action Center to weigh in on these Senate amendments.   


House Passes Infrastructure Bill
The House approved a bipartisan infrastructure bill (Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (H.R.3684) that includes the following provisions:
• Providing $110 billion to repair highways, bridges, and roads;
• Authorizing $39 billion to expand public transit, improve access for people with disabilities, buy low emission buses, and reduce the public transit repair backlog;
• Providing $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations and $5 billion for electric and hybrid school buses;
• Protecting the electric grid against power outages and making the grid more environmentally friendly ($65 billion); and 
• Spending $25 billion to improve airports.

The bill now goes to President Biden to be signed into law. A larger infrastructure proposal, the “Build Back Better Act” (H.R.5376) stalled in the House when proponents refused to provide a cost estimate of the bill.  This bill could still be called for a vote in the House.    

Ad Council and VA Work to Reduce Veteran Suicides
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Ad Council recently launched a new national campaign called “Don't Wait, Reach Out” that includes Public Service Announcements (PSA) to encourage veterans to reach out for help before their challenges become overwhelming. The announcement noted that suicide is preventable, and the veteran’s suicide rate was 52 percent higher than non-veteran adults in 2019. 

 The PSA’s will direct veterans to, a website that makes it easier for veterans to find guidance and support services from across the full breadth of the VA's offerings. The user-friendly experience invites veterans to identify the specific life challenges they may be struggling with — like trouble sleeping, or financial stress — then serves up the appropriate resources for their unique needs. The FRA supports improvements to VA and Defense suicide prevention programs to reduce the rate of suicide among veterans and active-duty service members.

NewsBytes is FRA's weekly legislative update. If you received this through a forward and would like to subscribe, please e-mail us  and include your name and contact information in the body of e-mail. If you are a member of FRA or LA FRA, please include your member number.


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