MOAA staffers, including President and CEO Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, USAF (Ret), met with representatives of President Joe Biden’s executive office and the Office of the First Lady on Feb. 10 to outline a series of advocacy priorities, including those at the heart of MOAA’s upcoming spring campaign.
The meeting allowed MOAA advocates to provide specifics on issues critical to both members and the wider uniformed services community, with White House staffers offering feedback and their own priorities for helping veterans and military families.
“Sessions like this one are critical to moving forward on these bipartisan topics,” Kelly said after the meeting. “But high-level meetings aren’t enough – our membership’s engagement is so crucial to ensuring lawmakers and the White House understand how important these priorities are not just to MOAA and its members, but to all servicemembers, veterans, and retirees, as well as their caregivers, families and survivors.”
Topline issues MOAA addressed at the meeting included:
- Continued support of the all-volunteer force, including the preservation of earned benefits for retirees and veterans, who are instrumental in shaping future generations’ desire to serve.
- Restoration of the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to cover 100% of housing costs (instead of the current 95%) to better combat skyrocketing rental and housing prices.
- Reversal of recent cuts to the TRICARE Pharmacy network, which disrupted care for many rural beneficiaries and those with special medication needs who could no longer rely on long-term relationships built with thousands of local pharmacies.
White House officials echoed support for the preservation of benefits, while stressing their priorities of fighting veteran suicide and homelessness, and ensuring implementation of the Honoring Our PACT Act and the Basic Needs Allowance, both part of successful MOAA advocacy efforts. Officials with the Joining Forces initiative, under the Office of the First Lady, discussed work to support military families via spouse employment and child education improvements.
“As we’ve proven with other legislative victories, collaboration on all fronts is key,” Kelly said. “We will continue to work with government officials of all stripes who are willing to turn words into action when it comes to supporting servicemembers past and present, and their families.”
[FROM WHITEHOUSE.GOV: Veterans Programs Part of President’s Unity Agenda]
White House officials pledged continued emphasis on ensuring veterans and their families connect with the resources and benefits they need and earned through service. MOAA is particularly pleased to know the administration will take a whole-of-government approach, which would bring resources from outside the VA – to include Congress as well as military and veterans organizations – to bear when addressing barriers to accessing health care or services outside the VA’s scope or jurisdiction.
How You Can Help
Visit MOAA’s Legislative Action Center and let your legislators know you support MOAA’s ongoing advocacy efforts. And keep up with new pushes, early activity in the 118th Congress, and other critical updates via MOAA’s Advocacy News page.
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