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Tentative Agreement to Address Troubled VA Healthcare
July 28th: The chairman of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees, Representative Jeff Miller (R-FL) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) confirmed today that they have reached a tentative agreement on a $17 billion emergency spending package designed to improve access to the troubled Veterans Affairs health care system.
MCRMC Still Wants Your Input, So Does AFSA
July 25th, 2014: The Military Retirement & Compensation Modernization Commission launched a survey last month. AFSA encourages any members who have received invitations to participate in the survey to do so. It is a unique opportunity to perhaps shape the MCRMC’s final report due to the President and Congress by February 2015. That said, anyone participating should be sure to take their time, read questions thoroughly and think about their answers…in other words don’t just whip through it. Additionally, any AFSA members who have already completed the survey are encouraged to contact AFSA’s Deputy Director of Government Relations via email at email@example.com for a few follow up questions about the survey itself.
July 25th, 2014: Only a handful of days remain before Congress plans to depart for the August recess and lawmakers find themselves in a familiar place; a full plate of “must pass” legislation which includes the 12 annual appropriations bills, the defense policy bill and important Veterans legislation. Hope still remains for passage of a bill to address VA healthcare access prior to the break, but there is none for the funding bills or the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Regarding the latter, for the second straight year Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin has instructed his staff to begin “pre-conferencing” with the House Armed Services Committee on a final NDAA for FY2015—even though the upper chamber has yet to complete its version of the bill. Levin says he gave the green light for the preliminary discussions because he needed a fallback position in case the Senate bill doesn’t reach the floor this fall. The House completed its version of the bill two months ago, and has been waiting for the Senate to catch up. Meanwhile we’ve seen several reports that House leaders may be thinking about moving a Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government through the first few months of fiscal 2015 very soon. Efforts in both chambers to fund the government through the normal appropriations process have fallen flat in recent weeks. With the upcoming General Election this November, it is clear some lawmakers want to avoid another government shutdown if at all possible.