National Legislative Committee 

Members

 

  • Phil Short, Committee Chairman, pshort@mcleague.org
  • Ann Hunsinger
  • Roger Ware
  • Hugh Nisbet
  • Joe Messina
  • Joe DeAngelo
  • Dan Ritter
  • Russ Miller
  • David Niemann
  • Pat Connell

Message from the Legislative Committee Chairman

MARINES:  I want to say first, how honored I am to continue to serve our Marine Corps and Marine Corps League as Chairman of the National Legislative Committee.  I extend my sincere gratitude to Commandant Tobin, Chief Operating Officer Borka, and the National Board of Trustees for the opportunity to serve in this important role. 

Click here to review the Legislative Committee 2019 report

THE MILITARY COALITION

The Marine Corps League is a member of The Military Coalition. From their website:

  • The Military Coalition is a group of 32 military, veterans and uniformed services organizations in joint pursuit of the following goals:
  • Maintaining a strong national defense provided by recruiting and retaining skilled and highly capable personnel in the seven uniformed services;
  • Maintaining uniformed services compensation and benefits at levels sufficient to attract and retain professional uniformed service members for careers of service to the Nation.
  • Representing the interests of the entire uniformed services community, including members’ families and survivors, and responding to assaults upon the compensation and benefits earned by members of that community through years of dedicated service; and
  • Educating the public on the extraordinary demands and sacrifices associated with a career in uniformed service, and the need to maintain a similarly unique system of compensation and benefits to attract and retain the kinds and numbers of high-quality personnel needed to meet the Nation’s short- and long-term defense requirements.

The philosophy of The Coalition is that, by working together on issues of mutual agreement, the participating organizations can harness the grassroots support of more than 5.5 million members plus their families and accomplish far more than by working on these initiatives separately. When one or more of the Coalition organizations is invited to testify before Congress, we frequently coordinate the testimony with the other Coalition associations and present it on behalf of the entire Coalition. This lends greater weight and unanimity to the testimony than if it were presented by any individual association

National Legislative Priorities

TRICARE – Ensure any TRICARE reform sustains access to top-quality care and avoids disproportional TRICARE fee increases.

Who is affected? All military beneficiaries, including active duty troops and retirees and their family members and others entitled to DoD’s health care

The issue: Reforms to the Military Health System must sustain an operationally ready force with a ready medical force. We agree the military’s health care system needs to evolve beyond what it is today into a modern, high-performing, integrated system.

MILITARY PAY – Sustain military pay comparability with the private sector.

Who is affected? All active duty currently serving uniformed personnel and their families

The issue: Budget pressures might may affect military pay raises, widening the gap between military pay and civilian-sector pay.

QUALITY OF LIFE BENEFITS – Block erosion of compensation and non-pay and quality-of-life benefits.

Who is affected? All currently serving uniformed personnel and their family members

The issue: Future proposals may reduce the value of compensation, to include non-pay and quality-of-life benefits such as the Basic Allowance for Housing, Special Incentive Pays, and commissary, exchange, and morale, welfare, and recreation benefits, harming recruiting and retention.

MILITARY RETIREMENT – Protect military retirement and Cost of Living Allowances (COLA).

Who is affected? All new entrants into military service after Jan. 1, 2018 as well as those with less than 12 years of active military service who choose to opt in to the new blended retirement system (BRS)

The issue: Budget constraints may lead to further reductions in the value of the military retirement benefit earned after 20 years of service.

WOUNDED WARRIORS – Sustain wounded warrior programs and expand caregiver support.

Who is affected? Service members who were wounded in action, battle-injured with major limb amputations, traumatic brain injuries, and individuals with service-connected conditions acquired since Sept. 11, 2001.

The issue: While DoD, the VA, and the military services continue to maintain programs to care and support our most vulnerable service members; there is a need to establish a more unified and integrated system of care and benefits that will provide comprehensive wrap-around services.

END FINANCIAL PENALTIES TO RETIREES – End financial penalties to military retired veterans with disability compensation.

Who is affected? Veterans with service-connected injuries

The issue: Veterans forced into disability retirements before completing a full career (also known as Chapter 61 retirees) are prohibited from receiving military retired pay concurrently with VA disability compensation.

END SURVIVOR PENALTIES – End financial reduction of benefits to survivors whose military spouse died of service-connected causes.

Who is affected? Military dependent survivors

The issue: Military dependent survivors whose sponsors died of service-connected causes suffer from the widows tax, a dollar-for-dollar offset of DoD’s Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) from the VA’s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

“FIGHT TONIGHT” READINESS – Ensure the Guard and Reserve system adequately supports requirements for an operational reserve.

Who is affected? Members of the reserve components and their families

The issue: The paradigm for reserve component usage has changed from a strategic reserve to a combat-ready warfighting element incorporated into current and future war planning. As the demands on Guard and Reserve troops have evolved, so has the need for benefits comparable to their active duty counterparts.

RECRUITING AND RETENTION – Recruiting and retention of an all-volunteer force require alignment of spouse and family support programs.

Who is affected? Every service member who has or will have a family

The issue: The decision to remain in service often is made around the kitchen table and considers the evolving needs of the entire family, including the employment, educational, and health care needs of non-serving family members; access to child care; and the frequency of relocation.

VETERANS HEALTH CARE ACCESS – Ensure timely access for Veterans’ health care and preserve Veterans’ earned benefits.

Who is affected? All eligible U.S. Veterans receiving VA health care and earned benefits.

The issue: The demand for VA health care and benefits continues to grow. Budget and infrastructure must support the increasing demand.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION CENTER

Resource Links

Congressional Legislation (Bill Finder)
Find Your Senator 
Find Your Representative 
The Military Coalition
Marine Corps Office of Legislative Affairs