Dear Candidate: MOAA’s Message to All Those Up and Down the Ballot in 2020

Dear Candidate: MOAA’s Message to All Those Up and Down the Ballot in 2020
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

(Note: Want to put this letter on your lawmaker’s radar? Click here to send it as a Call to Action to your members of Congress. Look for a new link later in the election cycle so you can send this message to other candidates through our Legislative Action Center.)

 

Dear Candidate,

 

Every election year, candidates and their staffs reach out to the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and other advocacy groups seeking insights on the needs of the military community – problems to be fixed, benefits to be protected, services that have gone neglected.

 

Join MOAA Today 

Not a member of MOAA? When you join MOAA, you become part of the strongest advocate for past and present members of the uniformed services, and their families.

 

Already a MOAA member? MOAA has more than 400 chapters around the country. Get involved in your community by finding the one closest to you and joining today! 

Join Today Join a Chapter

The odds are the highest in 50 years that a candidate will not have military experience. Even those who’ve served may not be up to speed on the needs of current and former members of our nation’s uniformed services – our armed services as well as the U.S. Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 

Here are some of the issues that may touch your constituents, and how you can help MOAA help them. For more about these and other MOAA priorities, please review MOAA’s 2020 legislative mission.

  • With our nation in the midst of a pandemic, candidates must be aware of efforts to overhaul the Military Health System (MHS) resulting from a congressionally mandated reform plan passed into law with the FY 2017 NDAA. It is imperative we halt these reductions immediately and make no further reforms until we fully understand the lessons learned from this crisis. Congress made its decision to reduce and realign the MHS years before COVID-19; MHS reforms must be reconsidered under our new health care reality. 

 

  • Candidates can help keep military pay and benefits strong by insisting compensation keep pace with the Employment Cost Index (ECI) as intended by law. And don’t overlook other benefits that are just as important: Access to quality health care for currently serving, retirees, and their families; and reliable savings and inventory at the commissary and exchange.

 

  • Candidates can support military families by continuing MOAA’s push for housing reform, increasing child care capacity, improving the military moving (PCS) process, and opening the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to military spouses – a group that may suffer through some of the worst unemployment and underemployment rates of any demographic in your constituency. The old adage applies: “Recruit the member, retain the family.”

 

  • Candidates can push for concurrent receipt of military retired pay and VA disability compensation for all retirees as a way to ensure service-earned pay for all servicemembers, regardless of where they fall in the VA’s disability system. The issue isn’t new, but it remains a source of confusion and frustration for many. Help your beneficiaries by understanding the process and joining MOAA in the fight to approve concurrent receipt for so-called “Chapter 61” retirees (anyone medically retired from military service before 20 years) and all service-connected disabled retirees rated 40% and below.

 

  • Candidates can support the total force by backing plans to eliminate pay processing delays for National Guard and Reserve members, ensure these members receive timely health care and receive GI Bill benefits on par with the active force, and expand the Military Lending Act to cover all U.S. citizens, allowing these members to benefit from financial protections.

 

  • Candidates can hold DoD and VA accountable in providing key programs to military members and families, including more work to prevent suicides, provide for those exposed to toxins in the line of duty, aid wounded warriors and their caregivers, and preserve earned burial benefits.

 

  • Candidates can back all uniformed services by passing legislation that would protect the Coast Guard and members of the USPHS and NOAA Commissioned Corps in the event of funding lapses – members of these agencies either missed paychecks or dealt with significant financial uncertainty during the 2019 government shutdown. These agencies also require more funds to meet expanded missions, including disease prevention.

 

MOAA remains decidedly nonpartisan and regularly works with any elected official who seeks to support the members of the uniformed services, our nation’s retirees, veterans, and their families and survivors. Please join us in this fight on behalf of this common constituency dedicated to our national defense.

 

Join MOAA Today 

Not a member of MOAA? When you join MOAA, you become part of the strongest advocate for past and present members of the uniformed services, and their families.

 

Already a MOAA member? MOAA has more than 400 chapters around the country. Get involved in your community by finding the one closest to you and joining today! 

Join Today Join a Chapter

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About the Author

Col. Dan Merry, USAF (Ret)
Col. Dan Merry, USAF (Ret)

Merry earned his commission in 1989 through AFROTC and commanded DoD’s Port Mortuary at Dover AFB, Del. He has served in multiple overseas conflicts since the 1990s and has served as the Vice President of Government Relations since August 2016.