Your GSW Government Relations Committee met January 18th. We did not meet in December due to holidays. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to contact your GRC Region Liaison. Not sure who it is? Check the tab on the website that lists the GRC Committee, and underneath there is a tab that reads “Legislation”.
Lars Report: Congress needs to get the budget completed and they may use an Omnibus which would wrap all the bills (excluding DOD bills) into one bill to pass it. We may end up with a “CR”, which means Continuing Resolution. This means that the current funding levels continue.
Earlier this month, Congress looked at the Voter Protection Act, which did not pass. However, everyone will be on record as to how they voted on it. Next up is the Build Back Better bill, which includes Covid relief, welfare, social services, infrastructure, and ways to reduce the effects of climate change. That is still a priority of the Biden Administration but not sure when this bill will move in the Senate.
We are told a comprehensive Remarriage Bill will drop soon.
Of course, our main objective is the passage of the Caring for Survivors Act of 2021 - S. 976 and HR. 3402, which will give us a long overdue increase in the DIC. The Senate bill has 11 co-sponsors and the House has 40. Both have bi-partisan support. We had a productive meetings with Republican and Democratic staff of the House Veterans Committee to discuss our priorities.
It is SO important that we all continue to reach to our Senators and Representatives. There is a new FaceBook page that is dedicated to getting support for the DIC Increase. It is called DIC Surviving Spouses/DIC Increase Advocacy. You will need to request permission to join from those administrators.
Once August comes, many of the offices will be concentrating on re-election, so we really need to work hard to get this done before that. Otherwise we will have to re-introduce next session.
There is a hearing February 8th to discuss the Surviving Spouse Experience. And there will be a hearing in March, where we hope to present our GSW goals.
Some of you may have seen in the MOAA newsletter or on some of the Facebook pages that TMC -The Military Coalition has published an approved DIC fact sheet. This was in error as the sheet does not have final approval yet. The official version should be available soon.
MOAA also is pushing hard to get more States onboard to reduce the tax liability on SBP payments.
GRC Report: Members shared what they do when scheduling a meeting with Congress. Suggested verbiage: We want to meet with you to confirm a yes vote and you support for ____________. We want to come as a group to present the facts and explain how this will help your vulnerable constituents. Also suggested that you put members of Congress in touch with each other. So and so is working on this – please get in touch.
Contacting YOUR Senator and Representative and letting them know you are a constituent is so important. Please tell them about your spouse, and why this increase is so important to you.
Please reach out to your Region Liaison/representative with questions you may have; and let them know if you have met with your Senator or Representative.