From MOAA’s President: Your Critical Role in This Year’s Advocacy in Action Campaign

From MOAA’s President: Your Critical Role in This Year’s Advocacy in Action Campaign
Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Colby Mothershead/Navy. Illustration by John Harman/MOAA

The above image may be familiar to members who’ve already received their April issue of Military Officer – it’s a fitting backdrop for MOAA’s 2022 Advocacy in Action campaign, and a reminder of the teamwork it takes to accomplish challenging tasks.

 

Changing laws on Capitol Hill is arduous work. Legislation addressing critical issues can remain stuck in subcommittees through an entire two-year congressional session. Other bills can advance through committees only to lose momentum and die before reaching a floor vote. MOAA members can move these changes forward, but only if we’re all pulling in the same direction.

 

That’s where Advocacy in Action comes in.

 

[ACT NOW: Send a Message to Your Lawmakers Supporting MOAA’s Advocacy in Action Priorities]

 

I encourage all MOAA members to take part in this campaign throughout April. Click the link above to send letters to your legislators, preparing them for calls from MOAA’s state leaders and other volunteers who will be arranging meetings online and in person. Special focus will be put on interacting with these lawmakers during their state and district work period (April 11-22), when they will be more accessible to their constituents.

 

Watch for updates and future calls to action via The MOAA Newsletter, MOAA’s Advocacy News page, and MOAA.org/AiA. We aim to reach 535 congressional offices with our AiA message, and we can’t do it without your support.

 

We’ll rally behind these three issues:

  • Concurrent Receipt for Combat-Injured Servicemembers: The Major Richard Star Act (H.R. 1242, S. 344) would fix a longstanding injustice by allowing tens of thousands of combat-injured veterans to receive full retired pay and disability pay. The act has amassed 205 House co-sponsors, adding 54 since January, and is at a critical point as lawmakers draft the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

  • Affordable mental health for TRICARE beneficiaries. The Stop Copay Overpay Act (H.R. 4824) would overturn the doubling of TRICARE copays for mental health care in recent years. The bipartisan bill has only four co-sponsors, but additional momentum from your AiA efforts would improve chances of inclusion in the FY 2023 NDAA.

  • A 4.6% military pay raise. This raise applies to all eight of our uniformed services; the percentage is linked to the Employment Cost Index (ECI) by statute. It remains one of MOAA’s annual priorities to ensure the raise is not reduced to fund other programs or pay table overhauls – cumulative reductions over a recent three-year span (2014-2016) left servicemembers 2.6% below what they should have received.

 

[RELATED: Troops Would See 4.6% Pay Raise Next Year Under White House Budget Plan]

 

We cannot contact every one of the 535 lawmaker offices on Capitol Hill without your help. Your legislators want to hear from you, by any method

 

MOAA is no stranger to success in these efforts. Many of you participated in our decades-long effort to repeal the “widows tax,” which ended with success in the FY 2020 NDAA, or in letter-writing campaigns to help MOAA overturn “COLA minus 1 percent” and restore the full cost-of-living adjustment for retirees via legislation passed in 2014. 

 

Our renowned advocacy work ranges from events on Capitol Hill to in-person meetings in your hometown with your legislators. Through both our national and local efforts, MOAA has been recognized for the 15th year in a row as a Top Lobbyist by The Hill, a highly respected publication in the competitive Washington, D.C., environment.

 

We can move mountains if we never stop serving. Thank you for being a part of this next chapter of success.

 

A MOAA Premium Membership Comes With Many Benefits. Are You Taking Advantage of Them?

Visit our Member Value web page to see just how many benefits are waiting for you.

 

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About the Author

Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret)
Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret)

Atkins is the ninth president of MOAA. Before joining the association, he served in a number of key Air Force positions and has flown more than 4,000 hours in fighter aircraft. Follow him on Twitter: @MOAAPrez