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surviving spouses of servicemembers who died in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq;  extend authority for Yellow Ribbon Pro- gram matching funds under GI bill pro- grams to Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship participants;  establish that career reservists with no service under active duty orders may be honored as veterans;  expand complementary and alternative therapies, prosthetics, and chiropractic care at VA medical facilities;  extend the date of eligibility from Jan. 1, 1957, to Aug. 1, 1953, for health care for veterans and their dependents exposed to contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.;  require the VA to provide medical exams, counseling, and treatment for veterans who file for disability based on military sexual trauma; and  require states to consider military train- ing for the purpose of issuing state licens- es and credentials to veterans. Sanders offered the bill for a “unani- mous consent” floor vote because the mea- sure was fully funded under “PAYGO” rules and enjoyed bipartisan committee support. But Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) ob- jected that there was inadequate consul- tation on the measure and wrote a letter to minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) citing his objections. Coburn disputed that the bill is paid for and ob- jected to the in-state tuition provision, among other concerns. The bill would enhance education ben-


efits for veterans and certain surviving spouses; enhance other survivor benefits; expand health care, outreach, and employ- ment services; and require quarterly reports on the backlog of veterans’ claims. The “hold” on the bill means 2013 ended with a lump of coal for veterans who, as President Abraham Lincoln fa-


mously said, “have borne the battle and their widows and orphans.” However, Sanders pushed forward and


introduced new legislation (S. 1982)* that includes a full COLA repeal along with the veterans’ benefits enhancements.


Retirement T


Study Delay The final report deadline has been pushed to February 2015.


he Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission’s report originally


was due May 14, 2014, but the FY 2014 De- fense Authorization Act delayed the final report until February 2015. The commission, which Congress es- tablished to study military retirement and compensation and make reform recommen- dations to the president, must examine the impact of proposed recommendations on:  currently serving members, retirees, spouses, children, and survivors;  DoD-specific programs, such as pay and retirement; morale, welfare, and recre- ation; commissaries and exchanges; hous- ing; and dependent schools;  DoD and VA programs such as health care, disability, survivor, education, and dependent support;  Department of Education Impact Aid; and  support/funding to states, territories, colleges, and universities.


MO


— Contributors are Col. Mike Hayden, USAF (Ret), director; Col. Mike Barron, USA (Ret); Col. Bob Norton, USA (Ret); Capt. Kathy Beasley, USN (Ret); Col. Phil Odom, USAF (Ret); Col. Catherine Mozden Lewis, ARNG (Ret); Karen Golden; Matt Murphy; and Jamie Naughton, MOAA’s Government Relations Department. To subscribe to MOAA’s Legislative Update, visit www.moaa.org/email.


*read more: See “COLA Vote?” on page 33 for more information about S. 1982. 42 MILITARY OFFICER MARCH 2014


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