FRA NewsBytes April 10 2015

FRA Newsbytes 04/10/2015

FRA Newsbytes 04/10/2015

In this issue:
Senate Can Make Doc Fix Permanent
FRA Board of Directors will Storm the Hill
Former Congressman Selected for DoD Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness
Veteran Hiring with Federal Government Increases
Happy Birthday Submarine Force

Senate Can Make Doc Fix Permanent
Next week, the Senate will return to town from a two-week recess. The Senate needs to approve legislation (HR 2) that will make the so-called “Doc Fix” permanent and send it to the president to be signed into law. The House already overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill (HR 2) that replaces the current Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) pricing methodology, which would mandate a 22 percent cut to reimbursements to doctors who see Medicare/TRICARE patients. If the Senate does not pass the measure by Tuesday, April 14, SGR pricing for doctor reimbursements will take effect. These reductions will cause doctors to leave the Medicare and TRICARE programs and reduce TRICARE/Medicare beneficiaries’ access to care.

President Barack Obama has indicated he will sign the legislation. Members are strongly urged to use the Action Center (action.fra.org/action-center) to ask their Senators to approve this measure.
FRA Board of Directors will Storm the Hill
FRA’s National Board of Directors (NBOD) will storm Capitol Hill on Thursday, April 16, to share shipmates’ concerns with lawmakers. Get involved from home today by contacting your legislators about the Association’s highest priorities. The issues the NBOD will discuss with lawmakers and their staffs include:

  • Opposing TRICARE fee increases;
  • Excluding the Defense budget from Sequestration budget cuts;
  • Supporting legislation to allow “Blue Water Navy” veterans to be compensated for service connected disabilities related to exposure to Agent Orange herbicide;
  • Expanding concurrent receipt for certain disabled veterans;
  • Reducing the VA disability claims backlog; and
  • Opposing cuts to stateside commissary benefits.

Please use the Action Center (action.fra.org/action-center) to send a barrage of e-mails to your senators and representative that will re-enforce the messages being delivered in person by your FRA leaders.
Former Congressman Selected for DoD Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness
President Obama has selected former Oklahoma Congressman Brad Carson to serve as Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness, the top Pentagon official managing military personnel and compensation policies. The current undersecretary, Joseph W. Westphal, was nominated earlier this month to be the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Carson is a graduate of Baylor University and the University of Oklahoma Law School. He served as a White House Fellow for the Department of Defense (1997–1998) and served two terms in Congress (2000–2004) before making an unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate in 2004. From 2008–09, he served on active duty in the U.S. Navy, and was deployed to Iraq. He is currently serving as General Counsel for the Army (since 2012). His nomination as Undersecretary requires Senate confirmation.
Veteran Hiring with Federal Government Increases
Nearly one-third of the federal government’s new hires in fiscal 2014 were veterans—a record high, according to the administration. About 33.2 percent of new agency hires were veterans, up from 31 percent in fiscal 2013 and the highest in the more than five years since the White House established the Veterans Employment Initiative. In 2011, veterans made up 27.3 percent of the federal workforce.

In November 2009, the president issued Executive Order 13518, which established the Veterans Employment Initiative to bolster recruitment and retention of veterans in the federal workforce. This initiative has resulted in 200,000 new veteran hires and at least 25,000 new Reservists added to the federal workforce. In 2009 and 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden promoted the Joining Forces Initiative, which helped 90,000 veterans and military spouses find jobs.
Happy Birthday Submarine Force
The modern U.S. Navy Submarine Force celebrates its 115th birthday this week (April 11, 1900). Since that historic day, submarines have patrolled beneath the sea and have developed into an indispensable asset of the Navy.