The federal government is operating under a continuing resolution at FY 2020 spending levels – a resolution set to expire Dec. 11. Just as MOAA remains committed to ensuring federal spending for 2021, we are urgently pressing Congress to finish up the defense bill authorizing funding for the new fiscal year that began Oct. 1. The FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes many provisions important to servicemembers past and present, and their families.
The House and Senate versions of the NDAA – H.R. 6395 and S. 4049, respectively – both passed in late July and were referred to a joint conference committee. As of last week, the conferees, which include key members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, were in the process of finalizing negotiations to reconcile the bills.
Why is this critical to MOAA members? The NDAA is the primary piece of legislation for meaningful DoD reforms and improvements, including many MOAA-supported measures such as:
- A fair pay raise for members of the uniformed services.
- Language that stops military treatment facility (MTF) restructuring and medical billet cuts.
- The addition of three conditions to the list of those presumed connected to Agent Orange exposure.
[NDAA ACTION ITEMS: Stop Cuts to Military Medicine | Expand Benefits for Tens of Thousands of Vietnam Veterans]
While both versions of the bill include promising language that aligns with MOAA’s priorities, there is more work to be done to guarantee MOAA-supported provisions make it into the final version of the NDAA. MOAA continues to engage with Congress on measures from both versions to keep them at the forefront of conference committee negotiations.
The Military Coalition (TMC), a group of military and veterans service organizations representing a combined 5.5 million-plus membership that includes MOAA as a co-chair, wrote a letter earlier this year to Armed Services Committee leaders in both chambers detailing 15 issues crucial to the well-being of the total force. After the public announcement of the House members on the conference committee last week, the coalition sent the letter to the NDAA House conferees to ensure TMC- and MOAA-supported provisions remain a top priority.
Once the NDAA moves out of conference, the bill will be subject to floor debate in both chambers and a vote will be scheduled. MOAA looks forward to seeing meaningful reform in the final version of this year’s defense bill; you can make your voice heard on these improvements by clicking the “Action Item” links above.
It’s more important than ever to make sure you’re in the know and your military benefits are protected.