Congress Takes on Guard and Reserve Bills

While Congress has had many competing priorities during these past 100 days, legislators did manage to pay some attention to the Guard and Reserve community. Some bills currently under consideration include: 

  • Reserve Component Benefits Parity Act: This bill would amend the federal law to ensure that an order to serve on active duty under section 12304a or 12304b of Title 10, U.S. Code, is treated the same as other orders to serve on active duty for determining eligibility and for calculating deadlines for certain benefits. Those benefits include accruing eligibility credits towards the Post-9/11 GI Bill as well as access to pre- and post-deployment health care. (S. 667, introduced by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.);H.R. 1384, introduced by Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.))
  • Servicemember Retirement Improvement Act: This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow members of the reserve components to make the maximum allowable contribution ($18,000 in 2017) to their Thrift Savings Plans (TSPs) without limiting the amount members may contribute to a retirement plan based on other employment. The bill also doubles the maximum allowable contribution amount for federal employees in the Ready Reserve who are not eligible to make contributions to any plan other than the TSP. (S.492, introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas); H.R. 1317, introduced by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas))
  • Justice for Servicemembers and Veterans Act of 2017: This bill would improve the enforcement of employment and reemployment rights of members of the uniformed services under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to improve the protection of members of the uniformed services. More specifically, this bill would make mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts unenforceable against servicemembers using their legal rights under USERRA or SCRA. (S. 646, introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.))

MOAA is keeping a close watch on each of these bills and visiting members of Congress to advance the dialogue on these and other important issues affecting the Guard and Reserve community.



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