Resolutions - TREA94

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Resolutions

Legislative Affairs

RESOLUTION NO. 1 -- COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENTS FOR MILITARY RETIRED MEMBERS
WHEREAS, the continued effort to erode the value of military retired pay, disability compensation, and pension payments is of grave concern to the retired members of the Armed Forces and their families and;
WHEREAS, the military retirement system is a major factor in the retention of adequate and capable men and women in our active and reserve force, and;
WHEREAS, the cost of living adjustment (COLA) to military retired pay is annually subjected to congressional and administration attempts to curtail full COLAs, and;
WHEREAS, the cost of living adjustment is currently based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the proposal to move to the much less accurate “Chained CPI” would result in drastically reduced benefits from the VA and DOD for future generations of America’s military service men and women, NOW,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports the continued annual receipt of full retired pay, disability compensation and pension payment COLAs based on the CPI as currently prescribed by law and the statutory provision in the annual Defense Authorization Act.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association does not support any Consumer Price Index (CPI) offset or revised formulas used to calculate the CPI.

RESOLUTION NO. 2 -- PROTECTION OF THE UNITED STATES FLAG

WHEREAS, the Flag of the United States symbolizes freedom and liberty under the law, human dignity and equal opportunity for all, and embodies this nation's honor and appreciation to hundreds of thousands of brave men and women who have died, were wounded, were prisoners of war, or suffered handicaps as a result of their service to their country, and;
WHEREAS, the Flag represents a living country and is, itself, considered a living thing giving strength to all who have served or are now serving this great nation, and;
WHEREAS, more than one half of the nation's states have adopted resolutions memorializing Congress to submit for ratification, a Constitutional amendment outlawing Flag desecration; NOW,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association denounces all who desecrate or maim, in any way, this cherished symbol of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, our personal liberty and freedom, and our national unity, and;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Association supports a Constitutional amendment outlawing the desecration of the U.S. Flag.

RESOLUTION NO. 3 -- SOCIAL SECURITY NOTCH

WHEREAS, the "notch" occurred in 1977 when Congress reduced the Social Security benefit levels for all eligible persons born after Jan. 1, 1917 and before Jan, 1 1927 and;
WHEREAS, "notch babies" have been receiving an average of 20 percent less in Social Security payments than people born before 1917, and;
WHEREAS, this is an issue that affects military retirees born after Jan 1, 1917 and before Jan 1, 1927 if eligible for Social Security benefits, NOW,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports notch reform legislation leading to a final resolution of this contentious issue.
BE FURTHER RESOLVED, the Retired Enlisted Association supports the simple and fair proposal for a one-time lump sum settlement of $5,000 for Notch Victims.

RESOLUTION NO. 4 -- ACCOUNTABILITY OF AMERICA'S PRISONERS OF WAR AND MISSING IN ACTION

WHEREAS, thousands of Americans are unaccounted for as a result of recent wars, and;
WHEREAS, the United States, as a nation, has anguished over the plight of American Prisoners of War, both known and missing, and;
WHEREAS, the families of America's POW/MIA continue to suffer untold grief and uncertainty due to lack of answers concerning the fate of these missing veterans, and;
WHEREAS, on the record, the United States government has professed to give these concerns "the highest national priority", while off the record, this priority seems to sometimes vanish, and;
WHEREAS, The Retired Enlisted Association has consistently supported the United States government's policy of highest national priority to resolve the fate of these Americans; NOW,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association calls upon the DOD special office for POW/MIA matters to proceed posthaste to resolve this issue to the satisfaction of all concerned, and;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Retired Enlisted Association supports recent agreements between the United States and other world nations to further expand POW/MIA cooperation to resolve this issue and calls on all governments to fulfill their respective commitments to this end, and;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Retired Enlisted Association stands firmly behind a United States policy of highest national priority to resolve the POW/MIA issue and rejects irresponsible public or private efforts that jeopardize and interfere with the government-to-government process.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Association supports economic and diplomatic sanctions imposed upon former adversaries until such time as POW/MIA accountability has been resolved to the satisfaction of all organizations and US government agencies concerned.

RESOLUTION NO. 5 -- CONCURRENT RECEIPT OF RETIRED PAY AND DISABILITY COMPENSATION

WHEREAS, men and women retired from military service are required by law to waive from their longevity retired pay amounts equal to the compensation for service connected disability paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and;
WHEREAS, the military retiree is the only class of American citizen required to waive their earned retired pay, dollar-for-dollar, to receive VA Compensation for service connected disabilities, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association strongly advocates passage of legislation to permit the concurrent receipt of full longevity military retired pay and Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation without deductions from either, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association strongly advocates that, if the funding is not included in the FY2003 budget, passage of legislation to permit the concurrent receipt of full longevity military retired pay and department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation without deductions from either, should be initiated, NOW;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports the same treatment of equality for all military retirees as U.S. citizens with service-connected disabilities receive.

RESOLUTION NO. 6 --DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS HEALTH CARE BUDGET

WHEREAS, Congress, on July 21, 1930, established the Veterans Administration, now the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), health care system and progressively increased its responsibilities to administer veterans' benefits, and;
WHEREAS, the DVA has undergone budgetary restraints in recent years that have severely reduced both health care and benefits. These reductions have denied health care to previously eligible veterans; eliminated or reduced construction and maintenance of hospitals, domiciles, and nursing home units; and reduced medical staffing and the upgrade of essential medical care equipment, and;
WHEREAS, with the demographic increase of our aging veteran population, plus younger veterans, the quality of comprehensive health care in our DVA facilities is unparalleled and is more cost effective than other federal and private health care programs, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) supports increases to the VA Health Care Budget that, at a minimum, would allow for a level of continuing care.

RESOLUTION NO. 7 -- HEALTH CARE FOR RETIRED MEMBERS AND DEPENDENTS AT MTFS

WHEREAS, Military retirees who entered service before June 7,1956 earned free health care upon retirement from the armed services for themselves and their dependents, and;
WHEREAS, reduction in care at Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) force retired military personnel and their dependents under age 65 to rely on TRICARE which causes a considerable expense to user, and;
WHEREAS, retired military personnel and their dependents continue to see access to military treatment facilities (MTFs) hampered by base closures, funding cuts, and medical personnel shortages, and;
WHEREAS, the cost of medical care continues to escalate well above the annual inflation rate, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) believes that withdrawal or reduction of medical service in MTFs is a shameful betrayal to those who, years ago, made decisive career choices based on reasonable expectation of the continuation of their post career medical support.

RESOLUTION NO. 8 -- MEDICAL SERVICES FOR RETIRED MILITARY PERSONNEL AND THEIR DEPENDENTS

WHEREAS, retired military personnel and their dependents continue to see access to military treatment facilities (MTFs) hampered by base closures, funding cuts, and medical personnel shortages, and;
WHEREAS, reductions in care at MTFs force retired military personnel and their dependents to rely on TRICARE which causes a considerable expense to the user, and;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) adopts the following position on medical support for military retirees and survivors:
1. TREA believes that withdrawal or reduction of medical service in MTFs would be a shameful betrayal to those who, years ago, made decisive career choices based on reasonable expectation of the continuation of their post career medical support.
2. TREA opposes any attempt to establish a co-payment of fee for using the MTF.
3. TREA strongly supports a DoD managed Care Program be established in the appropriate catchment areas prior to the closing of any MTF.

RESOLUTION NO. 9 -- DENTAL SERVICES FOR MILITARY RETIREES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS
WHEREAS, the Department of Defense has basically eliminated all dental care for military retirees and their dependents, and;
WHEREAS, this proposal is deemed to be a breach of faith and further reduction and/or elimination of the benefits promised to military personnel who completed twenty (20) or more years of service to their country, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports legislation that would expand the current retiree dental program to include all dental services (i.e. crowns, bridges, and dentures).

RESOLUTION NO. 10 -- DISABLED VETERANS OUTREACH PROGRAM (DVOP) REPRESENTATIVES IN JOB SERVICE CENTERS

WHEREAS, DVOPs play a primary role in assisting military retirees, disabled and recently separated veterans in their transition from military service into civilian life, and;
WHEREAS, DVOPs provide direct service to military retirees, disabled and recently separated veterans in the form of Counseling, Training, and Job Placement service, and;
WHEREAS, Title 38, United States Code, subsection 4103A, requires the Secretary of Labor to annually make available for use in each state sufficient funds to support the appointment of one DVOP for each 7,400 veterans who are between the ages of 20 – 64 residing in the state, and;
WHEREAS, a reduction in funding and reduction in staff (DVOP) would be a drastic reduction in the necessary services needed to maximize the employment and training opportunities for veterans which is mandated by Congress, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association urges Congress to provide necessary funding to the Department of Labor so that staffing is maintained at one DVOP for each 7,400Veterans residing in such states.

RESOLUTION NO. 11 -- FORMER SPOUSES PROTECTION ACT

WHEREAS, the Uniform Services Spouse Protection Act, (Public Law 97-252, 10 USC 1408) was effective June 25, 1981, as a compensation measure for former spouses of retired military personnel who had made a significant contribution to the retired member’s household during the member’s military career, and;
WHEREAS, the Act is now viewed as an "open door" for the individual states to divide military retired pay without regard for the original intent of the law, and;
WHEREAS, the adverse consequences of the Act have imposed severe financial hardships on military retired members and their second families, and;
WHEREAS, the adverse consequences include: reopening of divorce cases that were settled prior to the enactment of the Act, the retroactive partitioning of retired pay; continuation of payments after the former spouse remarries; absence of a grandfather clause to protect retired pay earned prior to the 1981 effective date; allowing the former spouse to receive a pay benefit that was earned by the military member after the divorce was final (e.g., subsequent promotions); inclusion of disability compensation; and payments to former spouses being required prior to the military member's actual retirement, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports the principle that spouses of military personnel have a right to adequate support, but within the context of the Supreme Court decision of McCarty vs. McCarty (military retired/retainer pay is not marital property) and Mansell vs. Mansell (VA disability is not included in disposable income), and;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Association fully supports legislation that will correct the inequities in the current Act that lead to the adverse consequences herein described.
COMPLETE

RESOLUTION NO. 12 -- SURVIVOR BENEFIT PLAN (SBP)

WHEREAS, the undesirable provisions of the SBP that pertain to automatic benefit reduction or Social Security offset for survivors have still not been favorably considered by the Congress, and;
WHEREAS, the SBP benefit at age 62 is automatically reduced from 55% to 35% of the base amount or a Social Security offset of 40% is incurred depending on which measure provides the survivor the greatest benefit based on Public Law 99-145 effective September 1, 1986, and;
WHEREAS, Public Law 99-145 requires this reduction or offset even though the survivor may not be drawing Social Security benefits from the deceased members account, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports legislation to eliminate the age 62 benefit reduction or offset and that survivor benefits not be reduced if the survivor is eligible to draw Social Security benefits based on the survivor's own work record.

RESOLUTION NO. 13 -- RESTRUCTURING VETERANS' BENEFITS

WHEREAS, the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) is studying veterans benefit reforms in order to eliminate inequities and inconsistencies in eligibility criteria, and;
WHEREAS, the reform is not an attempt to cut any benefits currently being provided to veterans, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) objects to any change in service connected benefits criteria. Injuries incurred whether or not combat related. If a line of duty determination finds the injury is not due to individual misconduct, compensation should be paid based on the level of disability, and;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) opposes any benefit reform that will cause a veteran currently receiving a benefit to receive less as a result of the reform.

RESOLUTION NO. 14 -- CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL VETERANS TRAINING INSTITUTE

WHEREAS, The National Veterans Training Institute (NVTI) provides essential training to local Veteran Employment Representatives and Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) Specialists and others who provide required information/service to military retirees, disabled, and recently separated service men and women, in the form of counseling, training, resume preparation, job seeking skills workshops, job placement assistance, veterans benefits, veterans re-employment rights information, and marketing the veterans and Job Service Center services, and;
WHEREAS, Congress has affirmed that NVTI should be an integral part of the resources available to train both Federal and State employees, managers, and others involved in the delivery of services to veterans as outlined in Public Law Title 38 subsection 4109(a), and;
WHEREAS, the NVTI has provided the training with outstanding results and has significantly increased the supportive services provided, and more importantly, significantly increased the number of veterans entering the labor force, placed in jobs in the private sector and in Federal agencies, and;
WHEREAS, veterans employment and training of the staff who deliver services to veterans should be a national priority, and;
WHEREAS, the NVTI is charged with training key Departments of Defense and Labor staff who provide congressionally mandated resources and instruction to service men and women transitioning from the military to their civilian careers, and;
WHEREAS, the elimination of the funding for this training facility would greatly decrease the ability of DVOPs nation wide to provide the quality and quantity of services needed by our military retirees, disabled and recently separating veterans, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association urges Congress to provide adequate funding for the continuance of the National Veterans Training Institute.
COMPLETE

RESOLUTION NO. 15 -- UNLIMITED ACCESS TO MILITARY COMMISSARY FOR MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVE (Active and Retired)

WHEREAS, members of the National Guard and Reserve are being called upon to provide more of our national defense;
WHEREAS, these personnel are restricted to 24 visits per year to the Commissary;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports legislation to allow members of the National Guard and Reserve unlimited visits to the Commissary.
COMPLETE

RESOLUTION NO. 16 -- POLICY ON NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION (NATO) EXPANSION

WHEREAS, The Retired Enlisted Association recognizes that European security and preservation of the NATO alliance are critical to America's vital national security interests; and
WHEREAS, The NATO treaty of 1949 anticipated the addition of member states which has included Greece and Turkey in 1952, the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955 and Spain in 1982; and
WHEREAS, The Retired Enlisted Association believes that expanding NATO will make a stronger alliance, protect against another European war, defend against old European ethnic and border disputes, and help to build an undivided Europe; and
WHEREAS, At the Madrid NATO summit meeting in July 1997, the members of NATO extended invitations to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to join the Alliance and formal accession talks are now underway with those states; NOW
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association urges the President to continue to consult fully with the Congress throughout the process of NATO expansion; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association urges the Senate to conduct full and thorough hearings on the proposals to expand NATO with the entry of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic and at a later time other invited nations; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, That following this public debate, The Retired Enlisted Association urges the United States Senate to provide its advice and consent to the addition of these states to the NATO Alliance in a prompt and timely matter.

RESOLUTION NO. 17 -- MILITARY RETIREMENT SYSTEM

WHEREAS, the military retirement system is a major factor in the retention of adequate and capable men and women in our active and reserve force, and;
WHEREAS, there are three retirement plans in affect; Final basic pay for those who entered prior to September 8, 1980; High-3 for those who entered between September 8, 1980 and July 31, 1986; and the Military Retirement Reform Act (MRRA) (also known as REDUX) for those who entered after July 31, 1986, and;
WHEREAS, the MRRA/REDUX was later modified in the 2000 NDAA at the request of the Joint Chiefs of Staff because it was hurting recruiting and retention, and;
WHEREAS, service members are offered a Career Status Bonus at 15 years of service in order to “opt-in” to the REDUX and accept a REDUX retirement benefit that significantly devalues their retirement over time; and,
WHEREAS, several commissions and studies have called for a complete revamping of the uniformed services retirement system to make it more like “civilian” retirement benefits; and,
WHEREAS, uniformed service is fundamentally different from civilian employment, and a unique package of powerful incentives is essential to induce top-quality people to serve for 20 to 30 years under conditions the majority of Americans are unwilling to endure even for one term of service; NOW,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports legislation to eliminate the Career Status Bonus and oppose initiatives to "civilianize" the military retirement system in ways that reduce the value of the current retirement system and undermine long-term retention.

RESOLUTION NO. 18 -- SUPPORT OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES

WHEREAS, the Armed Forces of the United States, and its allies, are involved in combat and humanitarian operations in various countries of the world, and;
WHEREAS, when the President of the United States has determined this operation to be of vital interest to the national security of the United States, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States, and its allies, who participate in combat or humanitarian operations.

RESOLUTION NO. 19 -- TRANSITION PERIOD FOR EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS

WHEREAS, members of the Armed Forces and honorably discharged veterans are entitled to educational benefits, and;
WHEREAS, these benefits aid in transition to civilian life, and;
WHEREAS, education is a life-long pursuit, and;
WHEREAS, a quality education will help improve a veterans quality of life, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) believes that in order to guarantee education remains a quality benefit, honorably discharged veterans should have a six month transition period where they maintain access to the local military facility’s education office, such access shall include all benefits afforded to total force personnel.

RESOLUTION NO. 20 -- ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

WHEREAS, Arlington National Cemetery has been a final resting place for America's military heroes for over a century, and;
WHEREAS, burial space at Arlington National Cemetery is limited, and;
WHEREAS, restrictions have been placed on those eligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery to the point where some veterans can only be interred in the Columbium, and;
WHEREAS, members of the Reserve/Guard components currently awaiting retired pay, commonly referred to as "gray area" retirees, are ineligible for burial, and;
WHEREAS, prominent non-veterans have been buried in Arlington National Cemetery removing space for military heroes and placing this hallowed ground into political controversy, NOW,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association believes that Congress should pass, and the President should sign, legislation which eliminates all waivers for burial at Arlington National Cemetery, and;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, all retired members of the Reserve/Guard components of the United States should be eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery so long as they are eligible to receive retirement pay at age 60, and;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, Arlington National Cemetery should remain a place of honor for military heroes solely into the 21st Century.

RESOLUTION NO. 21 -- NEW VETERANS CEMETERIES

WHEREAS, there are nearly 26 million veterans living in the United States, and;
WHEREAS, veterans from the World War II era are dying at a rate of nearly 1,000 a day, and;
WHEREAS, burial space at existing national cemeteries is limited, NOW,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association believes that Congress should pass, and the President should sign, legislation which will create new national cemeteries throughout the United State, particularly areas with large veteran populations.

RESOLUTION NO. 22 -- RETIREMENT PAY FOR HEROISM

WHEREAS, the Armed Forces of the United States are a total force comprised of active, guard and reserve members, and;
WHEREAS, enlisted members decorated for heroism can, with approval of their respective Service Secretary, have their active duty retired pay increased by 10%, not to exceed the maximum of 75% provided in law, and;
WHEREAS, retirement eligible reserve component enlisted members who are decorated for heroism while in an active status or on active duty, met the highest standards and traditions of military service, and,
WHEREAS, the recognition of heroic service for one category of military retiree and the failure to recognize heroic service for another category ofmilitary retiree is discriminatory and wrong, NOW,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association believes that Congress should pass, and the President should sign, legislation which provides the members of the reserve component with this increased retirement pay.

RESOLUTION NO. 23 -- FEMALE VETERANS' PROGRAMS IN VETERANS AFFAIRS

WHEREAS, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently developed information programs and subsequently enrolled additional women veterans into its health care system and;
WHEREAS, the VA health care system still lacks proper facilities and sufficient educational programs to encourage women veterans to enter the VA health care system, and;
WHEREAS, the VA should enlarge and improve the medical information program to encompass each female veteran, and;
WHEREAS, the availability of mental health care and domiciliary care and other related care for women veterans are sadly in need of expansion and or initiation, and;
WHEREAS, the personnel working with veterans at the local level are not generally conversant with female veterans needs, and;
WHEREAS, federal funding for women veterans health programs is not a high priority among VA programs and the probable loss of recent gains in female programs is imminent, and;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports continued financial backing of women veterans educational and medical care programs.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association does not support proposed budget reductions as they relate to women veterans VA health care.

RESOLUTION NO. 24 -- VETERANS AFFAIRS SHARE OF COSTS FOR VETERANS IN STATE VETERANS HOMES

WHEREAS, State Veterans Homes were founded for Civil War veterans in the late 1800s and have served veterans for over 100 years; and
WHEREAS, under the provision of Title 38, United States Code, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is authorized to make aid payments to states maintaining State Veterans Homes subject to the provisions of 38 CFR 18.13, Part 3, Section 51.40 (1); and
WHEREAS, there are 97 State Veterans Homes in 44 states throughout the United States, with more being added annually; and
WHEREAS, the VA State Veterans Home Program has proven to be a cost-effective provider of quality care services to the nation’s veterans who require domiciliary, nursing home, and hospital care; and
WHEREAS, VA promotes the care and treatment of veterans in State Veterans Homes as one means to attain the goal of developing and maintaining the highest possible quality of patient care for eligible veterans; and
WHEREAS, VA has made a commitment to increase its share of State Home per diem to 33 1/3 percent of the national average cost of providing care in a State Veterans Home; and
WHEREAS, Title 38, United States Code, authorizes the State Home Construction Grant Program which is funded by VA at 65 percent of total costs for construction of new State Veterans Homes and renovation of existing facilities; and
WHEREAS, VA has not kept pace with states’ grant applications for construction of new State Veterans Homes and renovation projects; and
WHEREAS, Title 38, United States Code, authorizes VA to make per diem payments for veterans residing in State Veterans Homes, and the State Veterans Home Program is recognized as the lowest cost alternative among all nursing care alternatives available to VA; and
WHEREAS, recognizing the growing long term health care needs of older veterans, the State Veterans Home Program will continue to be a vital health care provider and the lowest cost alternative for veterans needing long term nursing care; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Retired Enlisted Association fully supports the legislative objectives of the National Association of State Veterans Homes (NASVH) to receive from VA a per diem payment that equals 33 1/3 percent of the national average cost of providing care in a State Veterans Home; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Retired Enlisted Association urges the Congress of the United States to fully fund State Veterans Home Construction Grant priority one projects for fiscal year 2002; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Retired Enlisted Association urges the President and Congress to pledge their full support to the State Veterans Home Program as it is the most cost-effective nursing care alternative available to VA.

RESOLUTION NO. 25 -- MILITARY RETIREMENT PROTECTION RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, hundred of thousands of men and women have spent their careers serving our country in the Armed Forces, and;
WHEREAS, the Department of Defense in currently building up funds in the Military Retirement Trust Fund, and;
WHEREAS, this fund is open to borrowing by Congress for other uses, and;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association supports legislation that will oppose any effort to spend Military Retirement Trust Funds to finance spending increases, tax cuts, or for any other purpose, other than paying military benefits.

RESOLUTION NO. 26 -- EQUITY IN ACCRUAL OF ANNUAL LEAVE FOR FEDERALLY EMPLOYED VETERANS

WHEREAS, Title 5 of the U.S. Code entitles other than retired military veterans entering federal employment to credit all military service to the accrual of annual leave, and;
WHEREAS, Title 5 of the U.S. Code entitles military veterans entering federal employment to credit only certain "qualifying periods" of military service to the accrual of annual leave, and;
WHEREAS, Title 5, of the U.S. Code entitles those veterans, "retired for disability" to credit all military service to accrual of annual leave only if such disability is incurred as a direct result of armed conflict, or is caused by an instrumentality of war, and while in the line of duty during a qualifying period, and;
WHEREAS, retired veterans, by their lifetime dedication to military service, deserve treatment at least equal to that of non-veterans, and;
WHEREAS, current law, emanating from the Dual Compensation Act of 1964 and written into Title 5, is discriminatory to retired veterans, and;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association fully supports and will therefore pursue legislation to amend Title 5 of the U.S. Code to allow federally-employed retired veterans to credit all military service toward the accrual of annual leave on the same basis as is currently allowed for non-retired veterans.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association fully supports and will pursue legislation to amend Title 5 of the U.S Code to remove retired for disability restrictions with respect to armed conflict, an instrumentality of war, and line of duty status of disabled retirees as pertains to the accrual of annual leave.

RESOLUTION NO. 27 -- DELETED


RESOLUTION NO. 28 -- POW/MIA MEMORIAL FLAG ACT OF 2001

WHEREAS, legislation has been introduced by the Senators from Colorado which requires the flying of the POW/MIA flag in our Nation’s Capital at the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veteran Memorial on any day the United States Flag is flown, and;
WHEREAS, the flying of the POW/MIA flag will be a forceful reminder that we care not only for the POWs and MIAs, but also for their families who personally carry with them the burden of sacrifice, and;
WHEREAS, we want those families to know that we stand with them and beside them as we remember the loyalty and devotion of their loved ones who served bravely and gave so much of their lives, and;
WHEREAS, the remembrance of another’s sacrifice in battle is one of the highest and most noble acts we can do, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESLOVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association fully supports and will therefore pursue passage of the POW/MIA Memorial Flag Act of 2001, and;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association will never forget those who put their lives on the line in order to preserve the freedoms Americans enjoy today.

RESOLUTION NO. 29 -- SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER AS BASIS FOR CREDIT

WHEREAS, after years of being advised by various military and military-related agencies that all personnel upon their final departure form the service, should record their DD Form 214, which is a document of personal military service and more specifically, contains their Social Security number, at their local courthouse for safekeeping, and;
WHEREAS, retiring and separating service members are now being advised that recording the DD 214 may not be wise decision because information has surfaced that military members
identities have been stolen as a result of unscrupulous persons being able to obtain DD 214 information through courthouse public records, and;
WHEREAS, service officials are now advising personnel who have recorded their DD 214’s to contact their local offices of registry to ensure that their information is being safeguarded from viewing by unauthorized individuals, and;
WHEREAS, numerous people have already had their identify stolen for use in obtaining illegal loans and credit cards which will take years to repay and to restore one’s good name, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association will support state legislation that will prohibit the release of information on these documents without prior approval of the veteran.

RESOLUTION NO. 30 -- DEPENDENCY AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION

WHEREAS; Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for survivors of 100% service-connected disabled veterans who die from causes other than their service-connected disability show discrimination by the following ruling:
1. the veteran would have to be continuously rated totally disabled for a period of ten (10) or more years immediately preceding death;
2. the veteran was so rated for a period of at least five (5) years from the date of military discharge;
3. the veteran was a former prisoner of war (POW) who died after September 30, 1999 and who was continuously rated totally disabled for a period of a least one (1) year immediately preceding death.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) supports the position that the waiting period for the survivors of all disabled veterans rated at 100% disabled who die by causes other than their service-connected disability be totally eliminated.

RESOLUTION NO. 31 -- REPEAL OF DIC OFFSET FROM SBP SURVIVING SPOUSE ANNUITIES

WHEREAS, military personnel may pay into the Survivor Benefit Plan to provide benefits to a surviving spouse, and;
WHEREAS, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as set out in Chapter 73, Title 10, United States Code, pays a benefit called Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) to a surviving spouse and dependent children (if any) if a member dies of a service connected cause, the member has a 100% VA disability for 10 continuous years, or, if less than 10 years, at least 5 continuous years from the date of release from active duty, and;
WHEREAS, any Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) paid to the spouse is subtracted from the Survivor Benefit Plan (SNB) annuity, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) urges Congress to pass legislation, and the President to sign, to repeal the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Offset from Survivor Benefit Plan surviving spouse annuities.

RESOLUTION NO. 32 - DELETED


RESOLUTION NO. 33 -- DISCRIMINATION AGAINST REGULAR MILITARY RETIREES IN STATE RETIREMENT SYSTEMS

WHEREAS, state residents may serve their country in the armed services guard/reserve components for periods of time until their retirement from the armed services, and;
WHEREAS, upon discharge or retirement many veterans use their expertise for employment in state or local governments, and;
WHEREAS, these veterans who are state or local government employees, become eligible for employee benefits, such as retirement, and;
WHEREAS, said veterans are allowed credit for military service for retirement benefits from state or local governments, and;
WHEREAS, said veterans are covered by Chapter 67, Title 10 of the United States Code which states: “No period of service included wholly or partly in determining a person’s right to, or the amount of, retired pay under this Chapter, Title 10 USC may be excluded in determining his eligibility for any annuity, pension or old-aged benefit, under any other law, on account of civilian employment by the United States or otherwise, or in determining the amount payable under that law, if that service was otherwise properly credited under it”, and;
WHEREAS Chapter 71, Title 10 U.S. Code does not provide the same protection for credit of military service for retirees of the regular component of the armed services, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) urges Congress to include the same provision for military credit for retirement from state or local government for the military retiree of the regular component of the armed services and end this discrimination.

RESOLUTION NO. 34 -- DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS USER FEES

WHEREAS, Congress, on July 21,1930, established the Veterans Administration, now the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), health care system and progressively increased its responsibilities to administer veterans’ benefits, and;
WHEREAS, The DVA has undergone budgetary restraints in recent years that have severely reduced both health care and benefits. These reductions have denied health care to previously eligible veterans, eliminated or reduced construction and maintenance of hospitals, domiciles, and nursing home units; and reduced medical staffing and the upgrade of essential medical care equipment, and;
WHEREAS, with the demographic increase of our aging veteran population, plus younger veterans, the quality of comprehensive health care in our DVA facilities is unparalleled and is more cost effective than other federal and private health care program, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) opposes any additional DVA user fees being levied for prescriptions or out patient services.

RESOLUTION NO. 35 -- DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT

WHEREAS, Congress on July 21, 1930 established the Veterans Administration, now the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), health care system and progressively increased its responsibilities to administer veterans’ benefits, and;
WHEREAS, The DVA has undergone budgetary restraints in recent years that have severely reduced both health care and benefits. These reductions have denied health care to previously eligible veterans, eliminated or reduced construction and maintenance of hospitals, domiciles, and nursing home units; and reduced medical staffing and the upgrade of essential medical care equipment, and;
WHEREAS, with the demographic increase of our aging veteran population, plus younger veterans, the quality of comprehensive health care in our DVA facilities is unparalleled and is more cost effective than other federal and private health care programs, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) supports annual COLA increases in compensation and pension benefits. We further support-seeking legislation to make annual COLA increases automatic thereby eliminating the need for annual approval.

RESOLUTION NO. 36 -- DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS HOME LOAN FUNDING FEE

WHEREAS, Congress, on July 21, 1930, established the Veterans Administration, now the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA), has progressively increased its responsibilities to administer veterans’ benefits, and;
WHEREAS, The DVA has undergone budgetary restraints in recent years that have severely reduced benefits, NOW;
BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) opposes any increase in the DVA home-loan funding fee.

RESOLUTION NO. 37 -- DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS HEALTH CARE

WHEREAS, Congress, on July 21, 1930, established the Veterans Administration, now the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), health care system and progressively increased its responsibilities to administer veteran’ benefits, and;
WHEREAS, The DVA has undergone budgetary restraints in recent years that have severely reduced both health care and benefits. These reductions have denied health care to previously eligible veterans, eliminated or reduced construction and maintenance of hospitals, domiciles, and nursing home units; and reduced medical staffing and the upgrade of essential medical care equipment, and;
WHEREAS, with the demographic increase of our aging veteran population, plus younger veterans, the quality of comprehensive health care in our DVA facilities is unparalleled and is more cost effective than other federal and private health care programs, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) supports the DVA authorizing military retirees and their dependents to use DVA health care, on a TRICARE reimbursement basis, but without having to pay an annual deductible. Further, such authorization would be on a guaranteed space basis.

RESOLUTION NO. 38 -- MEDICARE SUBVENTION TO DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

WHEREAS, Congress, on July 21, 1930, established the Veterans Administration, now the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), health care system and progressively increased its responsibilities to administer veterans’ benefits, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association, (TREA) supports legislation for Medicare Subvention.

RESOLUTION NO. 39 -- CO-PAYMENT OF FEE FOR USING A MTF

WHEREAS, military retirees who entered service before June 7, 1956 earned “free health care” upon retirement from the armed services for themselves and their dependents, and;
WHEREAS, reductions in care at Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) force retired military personnel and their dependents under age 65 to rely on TRICARE which causes a considerable expense to the user, and;
WHEREAS, retired military personnel and their dependents continue to see access to Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) hampered by base closures, funding cuts, and medical personnel shortages, and;
WHEREAS, the cost of medical care continues to escalate well above the annual inflation rate, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) opposes any attempt to establish a co-payment of a fee for using a Military Treatment Facility (MTF).

RESOLUTION NO. 40 -- ENROLLMENT IN FEHBP

WHEREAS, military personnel under the age of 65 are not given the opportunity to enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP), NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) supports allowing retired military personnel and their dependents and/or survivors under age 65 to enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) as are all other federally retired personnel.

RESOLUTION NO. 41 -- LEGISLATION TO CHANGE TITLE 10 SUBSECTION 1074

WHEREAS, military personnel who entered service before June 7, 1956 earned “free health care” upon retirement from the armed services for themselves and their dependents, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) supports legislation to change Title 10 subsection 1074 to provide the earned “health care” to military retirees and their dependents as originally promised.
COMPLETE

RESOLUTION NO. 42 -- WAIVER FOR ENROLLMENT IN MEDICARE PART B

WHEREAS, Military retirees were encouraged not to enroll in MEDICARE Part B due to the availability of “space available” health care and now are penalized for not enrolling, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) supports legislation to “waive the penalty” for late enrollment in MEDICARE Part B so that military retirees may qualify for TRICARE FOR LIFE.
COMPLETE


RESOLUTION NO. 43 -- TRICARE PRIME PROGRAM

WHEREAS, retired military personnel and their dependents continue to see access to Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) hampered by base closures, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) strongly supports a TRICARE Prime Program be established in appropriate catchment areas prior to the closing of any MTF.

RESOLUTION NO. 44 - DELETED


RESOLUTION NO. 45 -- BURIAL OF RETIRED RESERVE AND GUARD AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

WHEREAS, Arlington National Cemetery has been a final resting place for American’s military heroes for over a century, and;
WHEREAS, burial space at Arlington National Cemetery is limited, and;
WHEREAS, restrictions have been placed on those eligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery to the point where some veterans can only be interred in the Columbariums, and:
WHEREAS, Arlington National Cemetery should remain a place of honor for military heroes, NOW;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) believes that all retired members of the Reserve/Guard components of the United States should be eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery without regard to age.

RESOLUTION NO. 46 -- CREATING A POSITION OF ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR RETIREE VETERANS AFFAIRS

WHEREAS, there are almost one million military retirees drawing retirement entitlements from the Department of Defense, and;
WHEREAS, there are several Assistant Secretary’s of Defense, one for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence; one for Legislative Affairs; one for Public Affairs, and one for Reserve Affairs, and;
WHEREAS, retiree affairs should be elevated to its proper level of importance within the Department of Defense to protect and monitor the almost 200 billion dollar Military Retirement Trust Fund, and;
WHEREAS, the Department of Defense has continually overlooked military retirees in the past, one example being their lack of support for the concurrent receipt issue which currently denies approximately 437,000 military retires their earned retirement pay, and:
WHEREAS, military retiree entitlements and veteran benefits issues are two entirely separate issues that need to be managed separately since clearly while all military retirees are veterans, most veterans are not military retirees and thus are not the responsibility of DOD, and;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association urges the United States Congress and the President of the United States to authorize an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Retiree Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 47 -- DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS ENROLLMENT PRIORITY CATEGORIES

WHEREAS, Public Law 104-262, Veterans’ Health Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996 was signed on October 9, 1996; and,
WHEREAS, the final rule in 38 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR), Subsection 17.36 included Noncompensable zero percent service connected veterans in category 7; and,
WHEREAS, the General Accounting Office (GAO) stated in testimony on May 14, 2002 before the Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs and International Relations, Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives “To improve its network workload, VERA (Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation) should account for all veteran workload served, including Priority 7 veterans, who have higher incomes and no service-connected disabilities”; and,
WHEREAS, Priority 7 Noncompensable zero percent service connected veterans (many are military retirees) do have service connected disabilities; NOW,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by The Retired Enlisted Association to pursue legislation to amend 38 United States Code (USC) Section 1705 and 38 CFR 17.36 to include Noncompensable zero percent service connected veterans in category 6.

RESOLUTION NO. 48 -- CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW VA H OSPITAL IN PUERTO RICO

WHEREAS, citizens of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have served honorably in the defense of the United States of America through their service in all branches of the armed forces and;
WHEREAS, the Department of Veterans Affairs has deemed the San Juan VA Medical Center to be seismically unsafe, and;
WHEREAS, a study has been done to determine the cost of bringing the current facility up to acceptable standards and determined this to be unfeasible, and;
WHEREAS, this medical center services a population of approximately 150,883 veterans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and;
WHEREAS, the recent designation of the San Juan VA Medical Center as a National Medical System Federal Coordinating Facility and Primary Receiving Hospital in the VA/DOD contingency plan, and;
WHEREAS, the San Juan VAMC has the highest utilization rate of any VA facility in the VA Medical System, and;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports the building of a new VA Medical Facility in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

RESOLUTION NO. 49 -- SUPPORT LEGISLATION TO ALLOW ALL VETERANS TO RECOVER AMOUNTS WITHHELD AS TAX ON DISABILITY SEVERANCE PAY

WHEREAS, money received as a result of personal injury or disability is not taxable; and
WHEREAS, disability severance pay is paid to a military member as a result of injury or disease suffered during military service; and
WHEREAS, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has, and continues to, tax military disability severance pay as regular income; and
WHEREAS, a United States District Court has held that military disability severance pay is nontaxable income; and
WHEREAS, the IRS has acquiesced in the District Court holding; and
WHEREAS, the three-year statute of limitations prevents veterans who have been discharged for more than three years from recovering the nontaxable money withheld by the IRS; NOW
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that TREA strongly supports legislation, which would allow all veterans to recover nontaxable income withheld from their disability severance pay, notwithstanding the three-year statute of limitations, which would otherwise prevent such recovery.

RESOLUTION NO. 50 -- SUPPORT LEGISLATION TO MAKE VA HEALTH CARE FUNDING FULLY FUNDED

WHEREAS, the funding for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care under the Federal budget is a discretionary program, meaning that it is within the discretion of Congress to determine how much money it will allocate each year for veterans’ medical care; and
WHEREAS, title 38, United States Code, section 1710(a), provides that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs “shall” furnish hospital care and medical services, but only to the extent Congress has provided money to cover the costs of the care; and
WHEREAS, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA), firmly believes that service-connected disabled veterans have earned the right to VA medical care through their extraordinary sacrifices and service to this nation; and
WHEREAS, TREA, along with the other Veterans Service Organizations (i.e. VFW, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans), has fought for sufficient funding for VA health care and a budget that is reflective of the rising cost of health care and increasing need for medical services; and
WHEREAS, despite our continued efforts, the cumulative effects of insufficient health care funding have now resulted in the rationing of health care; and
WHEREAS, VA reports that is has now reached capacity at many of its health care facilities; and
WHEREAS, VA is unable to provide timely access to quality health care to many of our Nation’s most severely disabled service-connected veterans; and
WHEREAS, it is disingenuous for our government to promise health care to veterans, but then make it unattainable because of inadequate funding; and
WHEREAS, making veterans’ health care funding mandatory would ensure the government meets it obligation to provide health care to service-connected disabled veterans and ensure all veterans eligible for care in the VA health care system have access to timely quality health care; and
WHEREAS, making veterans’ health care funding mandatory would eliminate the year-to-year uncertainties about funding levels that have prevented VA from being able to adequately plan for and meet the constantly growing number of veterans seeking treatment, and
WHEREAS, by including all veterans currently eligible and enrolled for care in the mandatory health care funding proposal, we protect the overall viability of the system and the specialized programs VA has developed to improve the health and well-being of our nation’s service-connected disabled veterans; NOW
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports legislation to make VA health care funding mandatory and fully funded, thereby guaranteeing Congress provide sufficient resources to cover the expenses of the veterans’ health care program.

RESOLUTION NO. 51 - DELETED


RESOLUTION NO. 52 -- OPPOSE RECOMMENDATION THAT MILITARY RETIRED VETERANS BE PROHIBITED FROM RECEIVING HEALTH CARE FROM BOTH DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS FACILITIES

WHEREAS, military retired veterans were promised and earned lifetime health care throughout the Department of Defense for completion of the required period of military service; and
WHEREAS, as veterans, are separately entitled to the same health care provided to eligible veterans generally throughout the Department of Veterans Affairs; and
WHEREAS, each of the two health care systems may offer advantages that the other does not offer; and
WHEREAS, a veteran’s use of this dual entitlement to receive the best services of both systems does not constitute unnecessary duplicate use of health care services or duplication of costs to the Government; and
WHEREAS, prohibiting the military retired veteran who used Department of Defense health care facilities from using Department of Veterans Affairs facilities treats that veteran less favorably than other similarly situated veterans who have complete access to Department of Veterans Affairs health care; NOW
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) opposes any action to decrease the health care eligibility owed military retired veterans throughout the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 53 -- SUPPORT LEGISLATION TO ALLOW DISABILITY RETIRED SERVICEMEMBERS TO RECEIVE CREDIT FOR YEARS OF MILITARY SERVICE IN CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENT

WHEREAS, military personnel who receive a disability retirement deserve the full benefits of their disability retirement, even if not injured from an instrument of war; and
WHEREAS, men and women who are retired for disability from the military and seek employment with the Federal Government cannot count their few years of service toward civil service retirement unless they waive the receipt of disability retired pay; and
WHEREAS, retired reservists can draw retirement from civil service and the military service for the time of service rendered both the military and civil service during the same period of years without reduction to their civil service time or any requirement to waive military retired pay in order to receive civil service retirement and can count their military active service time toward civil service retirement; and
WHEREAS, the Reserve and National Guard personnel can and do receive credit for many years of active duty service time, draw severance pay for up to a full year of their active duty military pay, then elect to join the military Reserves or National Guard and concurrently work for the civil service; and are allowed to count their years of active military service toward civil service and military reserve/guard retirement; and
WHEREAS, ex-servicemen and women who only draw Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) compensation for their service-connected disability can receive both the VA compensation and civil service retirement pay without waiver of one for the other, and
WHEREAS, equity should dictate that ex-service personnel who were disabled with less than 10 years of service and who were retired because of their service-connected disabilities (not for length of service) should be allowed to draw military retirement and count those years toward their civil service retirement the same way those active duty personnel who were forced to retire, after many years of active service, the military reservist/guard units can count the same time for retirement from the reserves/guard and civil service; NOW
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) supports legislation to change the law which now prohibits disabled military retirees, disabled from any cause except willful misconduct, and who served during a period of declared national emergency, war or police action, to be entitled to count their service time towards both civil service retirement and Ready Reserve or National Guard retirements.

RESOLUTION NO. 54 -- SUPPORT LEGISLATION TO ENSURE THAT MILITARY RETIREES RECEIVE ALL BENEFITS WHICH WERE PROMISED THEM WHEN THEY ENTERED THE ARMED FORCES

WHEREAS, men and women who enter military service set aside their personal lives, goals, and opportunities to wear the uniform and bear the burdens of our Nation’s defense; and
WHEREAS, these men and women were promised certain benefits, such as free medical and dental care for life, full retired pay based on longevity of service, and other benefits, to entice them to remain in the military and make it a career; and
WHEREAS, our Government has reneged on many of its promises to provide these benefits to military retirees; and
WHEREAS, our Nation has a compelling moral duty to honor its pledges to military retirees; NOW
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) supports legislation to require our Government to provide all military retirees, regardless of service entry date, with medical, dental, and other benefits promised them.

RESOLUTION NO. 55 -- LOWER THE AGE WHEN NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVE RETIREES QUALIFY TO START COLLECTING THEIR MILITARY RETIRED PAY

WHEREAS the members of the National Guard and the United States Reserves are a crucial and essential part of the United States military and the Nation’s ability to assure combat readiness; and
WHEREAS the members of the National Guard and Reserve are being called upon to spend more and more time in active service, illustrated by the fact that at the present time a full 40% of those serving in Iraq are in the Guard and Reserve; and
WHEREAS the required years of service are cutting into both the promotions possible in the members’ civilian careers and their ability to contribute to their civilian retirement plans; and
WHEREAS it is imperative that the government make it feasible for members of the Guard and Reserve to continue to serve without destroying the members’ ability to plan for their own and their families’ retirements
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association strongly urges that the age when a National Guard and Reserve retiree can start collecting their retired pay and be eligible for all other retiree benefits be dropped from 60 to 55 years of age.

RESOLUTION NO. 56 -- INCREASE THE EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS UNDER THE NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVE MONTGOMERY GI BILL

WHEREAS members of the National Guard and Reserves are a necessary and crucial part of the United State’s military force structure and an essential part of military readiness; and
WHEREAS one of the most important benefits to members of the National Guard and Reserves is the Reserve Montgomery GI Bill; and
WHEREAS when the Reserve MGIB was begun the Reserve monthly rates were 47% of the Active Duty MGIB rates; and
WHEREAS throughout the years a disparity has grown between the Active Duty and Reserve plans and at the present time the Reserve benefits are merely 27% of the Active Duty benefits; and
WHEREAS a fair and robust educational education benefit is essential if the National Guard and Reserve will continue to attract and retain the finest men and women in the National Guard and Reserves;
THERFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association urges that the monthly benefits of the Reserve Montgomery GI Bill be statutorily set at 47% of the Active Duty Montgomery GI Bill’s monthly rates.

RESOLUTION NO. 57 -- ALLOW MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVES TO BUY INTO TRICARE FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES

WHEREAS the members of U.S. National Guard and Reserves are a crucial part of the United States military and a crucial component of our military readiness; and
WHEREAS numerous members of the Guard and Reserve and their families have no civilian health care insurance or are underinsured; and
WHEREAS numerous members of the National Guard and Reserves are being found not to be medically ready when they are called up for active duty; and
WHEREAS medical readiness is an essential requirement to our nation’s military readiness; and
WHEREAS National Guard and Reserve families are confronting serious problems when going from civilian health insurance plans to TRICARE and back again; and
WHEREAS civilian employers presently facing serious increases in the civilian health care plans they are providing to their employees, should be encouraged to hire members of National Guard and Reserves;
THEREFORE IT IS RESOLVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association urges that members of the National Guard and Reserves be allowed to buy into TRICARE for themselves and their families at the rate of the Department of Defense paying 72% of the costs and the member (or his civilian employer on his or her behalf) paying the remaining 28%.

RESOLUTION NO. 58 -- IMPROVE NON PAY RETIREMENT BENEFITS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVE

WHEREAS the members of the National Guard and the United States Reserves are a crucial and essential part of the United States military and the Nation’s ability to assure combat readiness; and
WHEREAS the unity of the combined forces of the United States Military is critical to the military’s ability to fulfill its obligation to the nation.
WHEREAS the members of the National Guard and Reserve are subject to mobilization and combat identical to active components of the United States Military; and
WHEREAS the members of the National Guard and Reserve are being called upon to spend more and more time in active service, illustrated by the fact that at the present time a full 40% of those serving in Iraq are in the Guard and Reserve; and
WHEREAS the physical requirements for participation in the National Guard and United States Reserves are the same as active components of the United States Military; and
WHEREAS the required years of service are cutting into both the promotions possible in the members’ civilian careers and their ability to contribute to their civilian retirement plans; and
WHEREAS it is imperative that the government make it feasible for members of the Guard and Reserve to continue to serve without destroying the members’ ability to plan for their own and their families’ retirements
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association strongly urges removal of disparities between active duty and reserve forces by making all non-pay retirement benefits for National Guard and Reserve forces start at retirement eligibility on completion of 20 years of service, instead of on receipt of retirement pay.

RESOLUTION NO. 59 -- RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT A SHEET OF COMMEMORATIVE STAMPS HONORING AMERICAN VETERAN SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS AND MILITARY/VETERAN ORGANIZATIONS

WHEREAS the work of the Veteran Service Organizations and Military/Veteran Organizations allow the needs and the voices of the Military-the active duty, members of the National Guard and Reserve, the Military Retirees, the Veterans and all their families and survivors to be heard by the U.S. Government and the Nation; and
WHEREAS it is critical for the public to know of the VSOs and MVOs operating in the country; and
WHEREAS it is appropriate for the U.S. Postal Service to honor such organizations, their work and members
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association strongly urges the U.S. Postal Service to create a sheet of first class stamps bearing the insignia of the Nation’s Veteran Service and Military Retiree Organizations.

RESOLUTION NO. 60 – AMEND THE SELECTIVE SERVICE LAW FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO CAN SERVE ON ALL LOCAL, DISTRICT, AND NATIONAL APPEAL BOARDS OF THE SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM.

WHEREAS, the Selective Service laws sets forth the following common requirements for individuals who serve on all Local Boards, and District and National Appeal Boards of the Selective Service system.
Board members must be citizens of the United States; at least 18 years of age; not an active or retired member of the Armed Forces or any reserve component of the Armed Forces; able to devote sufficient time to board affairs; and willing to fairly and uniformly apply Selective Service law, regulations, and procedures.
WHEREAS, this law prohibits retired military personnel from serving on local draft boards for reasons that assume retired military personnel cannot be fair or devote sufficient time to board affairs is not truly reflective of our retirees.
WHEREAS, retired military personnel are best suited to determine a prospective draftee’s abilities and suitability for military service than other non-retired military personnel.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the The Retired Enlisted Association work with legislators in Washington to draft and champion legislation that would change this portion of the law.

RESOLUTION NO. 61 – EXPANSION OF CRSC TO THOSE WITH LESS THAN 20 YEARS OF SERVICE WITH A COMBAT-RELATED DISABILITY, EVEN IF THEY ARE MEDICALLY RETIRED FROM THE ARMED FORCES

WHEREAS, the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act provided that military retirees with 20 or more years of active duty service and a combat-related disability will receive both their military retirement pay and their VA disability under a program called Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC);
WHEREAS, personnel with less than 20 years of service with a combat-related disability are not eligible for CRSC, even if they are medically retired from the Armed Forces;
WHEREAS, the CRSC program is a special part of a larger legislative initiative to restore military retirement compensation that is on par with Federal civilian benefits;
WHEREAS, most of the combat-related injuries in the current Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts are sustained by junior enlisted personnel who are only in their first or second enlistment, meaning they are far short of 20 years of military service;
WHEREAS, a military member who has combined service in the active and reserve components of 20 years or mo re, but less than 20 years in either component, is not eligible for CRSC;
THEREFORE, BE IS RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports legislation that will extend Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) to military retirees who are entitled to retired pay and have a combat-related disability, but who have not completed at least 20 years of retirement-creditable military service.

RESOLUTION NO. 62 – AMEND THE SGLI AND VGLI PROGRAMS TO ALLOW RETIRED MILITARY PERSONNEL THE OPTION TO INCREASE VGLI COVERAGE FROM INTIAL AMOUNT SELECTED

WHEREAS, when military personnel are retired from active duty they are given the opportunity to convert their military life insurance policy Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI) to a Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI), they are allowed to elect a coverage up to the amount of the SGLI. Due to current law, veterans are not allowed any opportunity, at a later date, to increase the amount of that VGLI coverage, when and if needed.
WHEREAS, when military personnel are going through their separation process for active duty, they may not be thinking of their long term future, and therefore, may not be able to predict their need to provide adequate life insurance coverage for their surviving dependents.
THEREFORE, BE IS RESOLVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association, work with legislators in Washington to draft and champion legislation that would change this portion of the law, and allow an “open season” if necessary, to allow veterans an opportunity to make changes to their current VGLI coverage.

RESOLUTION NO. 63 – ESTABLISHMENT OF A “BEREAVEMENT LEAVE REGULATION” FOR ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY PERSONNEL

WHEREAS, changing current regulation to include establishment of a type of leave called “Bereavement Leave” to enable service personnel on active duty to attend to the personal affairs of an immediate family due to hostile actions while on active duty.
WHEREAS, under current regulations, ordinary leave must be taken to deal with affairs connected with the loss of immediate family due to hostile actions while that person is on active duty. Affairs include the return of remains, processing of the remains at the military mortuary center, transporting the remains, visitations, guards of honor, funeral services, interment, dealing with personal affairs, return of personal property, inventory of personal property, honorariums and tributes, and the prolonged expressions of sympathy that come from all over the world. When this rare occurrence takes place, it is an unrealistic expectation for an active duty surviving service member to use ordinary leave to deal with these circumstances.
WHEREAS, the terms of policy that should be included in this new category of leave are:
A. That Bereavement Leave is not charged against a service member’s ordinary leave.
B. That Bereavement Leave is used at the discretion of the service member and that Approval/Recommendation for such leave be placed in the care and custody of a Chaplain of the service member’s faith and/or chain of command.
C. That associated with this leave, unless extenuating circumstances exist, expenses be paid in a temporary duty status.
D. That Bereavement Leave be restricted for use by those uniformed service members who lost an immediate family member as a result of hostile action deemed so by the President, Congress, or the Department of Defense.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) work with legislators in Washington to draft and champion legislation that would establish the new Bereavement Leave Regulation for all active duty personnel in all branches of the United States military services.
COMPLETE

RESOLUTION NO. 64 – RESTORATION OF $7 MILLION TO THE 2007 NATIONAL DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT FOR THE DEFENSE AND VETERAN BRAIN INJURY CENTER

WHEREAS, the United States is at war and more that 12,000 service men and women have been exposed to horrific explosions in Iraq and Afghanistan, that have caused more than half of our casualties;
WHEREAS, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center is devoted to treating and understanding war-related brain injuries and received $14 million in federal funding in FY 2006;
WHEREAS, both the House and Senate versions of the 2007 Defense Appropriations Bill contained only $7 million for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, which is half of what the center received in 2006;
WHEREAS, cutting in half the funding of this vital brain injury center is outrageous during a time of war;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, we the delegates of the 2006 annual convention of The Retired Enlisted Association, do hereby condemn this cut in funding, and urge in the strongest possible terms, that the Senate restore the $7 million that has been cut from the 2007 budget of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center during its consideration of the 2007 Defense appropriations bill.
FURTHERMORE, we urge the 2007 Defense appropriations bill conferees from the House of Representatives to support full restoration of the $7 million for the 2007 budget of the Brain Injury Center.

RESOLUTION NO. 65 - OPPOSE INCREASES IN TRICARE AND VA HEALTH CARE ENROLLMENT FEES, DEDUCTIBLES AND CO-PAYMENTS

WHEREAS, the military retirement system is a major factor in the retention of adequate and capable men and women in our active and reserve force, and;
WHEREAS, there are three retirement plans in affect; Final basic pay for those who entered prior to September 8, 1980; High-3 for those who entered between September 8, 1980 and July 31, 1986; and the Military Retirement Reform Act (MRRA) (also known as REDUX) for those who entered after July 31, 1986, and;
WHEREAS, the MRRA/REDUX was later modified in the 2000 NDAA at the request of the Joint Chiefs of Staff because it was hurting recruiting and retention, and;
WHEREAS, service members are offered a Career Status Bonus at 15 years of service in order to “opt-in” to the REDUX and accept a REDUX retirement benefit that significantly devalues their retirement over time; and,
WHEREAS, several commissions and studies have called for a complete revamping of the uniformed services retirement system to make it more like “civilian” retirement benefits; and,
WHEREAS, uniformed service is fundamentally different from civilian employment, and a unique package of powerful incentives is essential to induce top-quality people to serve for 20 to 30 years under conditions the majority of Americans are unwilling to endure even for one term of service; NOW,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports legislation to eliminate the Career Status Bonus and oppose initiatives to "civilianize" the military retirement system in ways that reduce the value of the current retirement system and undermine long-term retention.

RESOLUTION NO. 66 - SUPPORT VETERAN STATUS FOR NON-VETERAN GUARD/RESERVE MILITARY RETIREES

WHEREAS, members of the Guard and Reserve components with 20 years or more of service, but who have not been on federal active duty for the consecutive number of days required by law, do not otherwise qualify under current law (Title 38) as veterans;
AND WHEREAS, all members of the Guard and Reserve components - those who regularly train in designated military positions - volunteer for service to the nation and are liable for activation in its defense;
AND WHEREAS, over time, Congress has authorized a number of veterans benefits for such 'gray area' reserve retirees. In establishing such benefits, it's clear that these former servicemembers are indeed veterans;
AND WHEREAS, this issue is a matter of honor to those who through no fault of their own were never activated, but served their nation faithfully for 20 or more years;
AND WHEREAS, to qualify for a reserve retirement at age 60, a Guard or Reserve member will have spent the equivalent of 2.77 years in the performance of drill duty, annual training, and professional military development;
AND WHEREAS, twenty or more years of service in the reserve forces and eligibility for reserve retired pay should be sufficient qualifying service for full veteran status under the law;
THEREFORE, The Retired Enlisted Association supports legislation that would amend Title 38 to include in the definition(s) of 'veteran' retirees of the Guard/Reserve components who have completed 20 or more years of service, but are not otherwise considered 'veterans' under the current statutory definitions. Career military service in the reserve forces of our nation should constitute qualification for veteran status under the law.

RESOLUTION NO. 67 - ALLOWING GREY AREA RETIREES TO PURCHASE TRICARE RESERVE SELECT (TRS)

WHEREAS, the Reserve components of the United States Armed Forces are an operational force that is essential to every national security mission at home and overseas'
AND WHEREAS, our Nation is asking these service members and their families to make enormous sacrifices under the operational force policy and to be absent from civilian employers one year in every five or six years;
AND WHEREAS, many Guard and Reserve members have already served two or more tours, far more than DoD's planning metric;
AND WHEREAS, these tours of duty have caused many members of the Guard and Reserve components to suffer a gap in their health care coverage, causing a major financial and emotional crisis to those involved;
THEREFORE, The Retired Enlisted Association hereby supports legislation that will permit retired members of the Reserve components to purchase TRICARE health insurance that was available to them both during their time on active service and when they reach 60 years of age.

RESOLUTION NO. 68 - CORRECTION OF MEDICARE DOCTORS' PAYMENT FORMULA

WHEREAS, the level of TRICARE payments to doctors and other health care providers based upon the payment level of Medicare payments to doctors;
AND WHEREAS, TRICARE Prime network payments are below Medicare payments;
AND WHEREAS, TRICARE for Life is a second payer to Medicare;
AND WHEREAS, the willingness of doctors to take new TRICARE patients is based upon the TRICARE payments rates;
AND WHEREAS, the willingness of doctors to take new TRICARE for Life patients is based upon their willingness to accept Medicare as first payer;
AND WHEREAS, the physician payment formula which was established by Congress in 1997 does not reflect the present increases in the cost of providing medical care as compared to the rest of the economy;
AND WHEREAS, cuts in Medicare payments to physicians will take place every 12 to 18 months unless a permanent fix is passed into law;
AND WHEREAS, more and more American physicians are stating that that will not be able to accept more TRICARE and Medicare if the 1997 payment formula is not modified;
THEREFORE, The Retired Enlisted Association hereby supports new legislation that will permanently fix the Medicare physician payment formula and/or uncouple the TRICARE payment formula from Medicare in order to insure that there will never be a risk of physicians refusing to take new TRICARE patients.

RESOLUTION NO. 69 - OPPOSE TREATING HEALTH CARE BENEFITS AS INCOME

WHEREAS, military health care is an earned benefit given by our government to offset the adverse conditions of military service;
WHEREAS, military personnel deserve a package of care consistent with their extraordinary service and sacrifice,
WHEREAS
, various ideas have surfaced regarding ways to reduce the cost of military healthcare, including the levying of a tax on health care benefits as a component of income;
THEREFORE, be it resolved that The Retired Enlisted Association is opposed to treating health care benefits as income and then levying an income tax on those benefits.

RESOLUTION NO. 70 - OPPOSE FOLDING TRICARE INTO THE NATIONAL HEALTH CARE REFORM PROGRAM

WHEREAS, discussions about how to reform the nation’s health care system arise periodically in public policy debates;
AND WHEREAS, the military health care system has been provided to the members of our nation’s armed forces as
an earned benefit to offset the adverse conditions of military service;
THEREFORE, The Retired Enlisted Association strongly supports the
preservation of the unique role of TRICARE and the VA health system and opposes folding into any national health care reform program.

RESOLUTION NO. 71 - UPGRADE RESERVE COMPONENT BENEFITS THAT WILL REFLECT THE REALITY OF THEIR INCREASED ROLE IN PROVIDING FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE

WHEREAS, the Reserve Components have become an integral part of our nation’s operational military force;
AND WHEREAS the upgrading of benefits to reflect that reality have lagged behind the upgrade in benefits to the active force;
THEREFORE, be it resolved that The Retired Enlisted Association supports legislation to upgrade Reserve Component benefits that will reflect the reality of their increased role in providing for national defense.

RESOLUTION NO 72 - SUPPORT OF THE MEN AND WOMEN SERVING IN THE ALL VOLUNTEER ARMED SERVICES

WHEREAS, “the mission of The Retired Enlisted Association is to enhance the quality of life for uniformed services enlisted personnel, their families and survivors – including active components, reserve and guard components, and all retirees; to stop the erosion of earned benefits through our legislative efforts; to maintain our esprit de corps, dedication and patriotism; and to continue our devotion and allegiance to God and Country;”
THEREORE be it resolved that TREA re-emphasizes its strong support for the men and women serving in the All Volunteer Armed Services;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that TREA recognizes the need to support enhanced benefits for active duty military personnel and their families in order to maintain the viability of our All Volunteer Force, and that these benefits may included improved educational, family support services, compensation benefits.

RESOLUTION NO. 73 -- SUPPORT LEGISLATION TO LOWER THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AMONG RECENTLY RETURNING VETERANS, ESPECIALLY IN THE GUARD AND RESERVE

WHEREAS the unemployment rate among all veterans is currently higher than the national average, and;
WHEREAS the members of the National Guard and Reserve have an even higher unemployment rate than former active duty, and;
WHEREAS Congress has heard testimony that employers are unwilling to hire veterans because of a perception among the public that all veterans have PTSD/TBI or are “unstable,” and or that members of the Guard and Reserve will be called away again to serve and thus cost the employer money, and;
WHEREAS an increasing number of employers refuse to hire members of the Guard and Reserve for fear that they will be called away again to serve and thus cost the employer money, a clear violation of their rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA);
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association strongly urges that Congress and the Administration act to lower the unemployment rate among veterans in any way possible, including by enforcing veterans’ preference in federal hiring guidelines, by setting and enforcing veteran hiring quotas across the executive branch, and by enforcing existing laws such as USERRA that protect the employment rights of our Guard and Reserve members. Further, we urge that this be an ongoing practice within the federal government.

RESOLUTION NO. 74 -- VETERANS AFFAIRS SHARE OF COSTS FOR VETERANS IN STATE VETERANS HOMES

WHEREAS, State Veterans Homes were founded for Civil War veterans in the late 1800s and have served veterans for over 100 years; and
WHEREAS, under the provision of Title 38, United States Code, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is authorized to make aid payments to states maintaining State Veterans Homes subject to the provisions of 38 CFR 18.13, Part 3, Section 51.40 (1); and
WHEREAS, the VA State Veterans Home Program has proven to be a cost-effective provider of quality care services to the nation’s veterans who require domiciliary, nursing home, and hospital care; and
WHEREAS, VA promotes the care and treatment of veterans in State Veterans Homes as one means to attain the goal of developing and maintaining the highest possible quality of patient care for eligible veterans; and
WHEREAS, Title 38, United States Code, authorizes State Veterans Homes to care for non-veteran residents, but only to the extent that non-veteran residents constitute no more than twenty-five percent of bed capacity at such State Veterans Homes; and
WHEREAS, Title 38, United States Code, currently authorizes VA to make per diem payment up to 50 percent of the national average cost of care in State Veterans Homes, and the State Veterans Home Program is recognized as the lowest cost alternative among all nursing care alternatives available to VA; and
WHEREAS, recognizing the growing long term health care needs of older veterans, the State Veterans Home Program will continue to be a vital health care provider and the lowest cost alternative for veterans needing long term nursing care; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association fully supports the objective of the National Association of State Veterans Homes (NASVH) to receive from VA a per
diem payment of not more than the amount currently authorized by Title 38, United States Code; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association urges Congress to enact legislation to allow states more flexibility in admitting veterans with service-connected disabilities to State Veterans Homes and more flexibility in the receipt of payments for such services from payment sources related to the Medicaid and Medicare programs; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Retired Enlisted Association urges the Congress to authorize admission to State Veterans Homes of any parent whose child perished in active military service to the United States in accordance with the limitations placed upon non-veteran residents by Title 38, United States Code;

RESOLUTION NO. 75 -- SUPPORT LEGISLATION TO ENSURE ADEQUATE FUNDING FOR RESEARCH INTO THE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI) AND POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

WHEREAS improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are the most common form of engagement our military encounters in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are likely to be used on the battlefields of the future;
WHEREAS brain injuries are becoming more and more common, due to both IEDs and the stresses of multiple warzone deployments, resulting in increased substance abuse, suicide and other force readiness issues;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association strongly urges Congress to provide funding specifically for medical and mental health professionals in Departments of Defense and Veterans’ Affairs, and the private sector when appropriate, to conduct further research into these debilitating injuries so they can be effectively minimized and treated, and our wounded warriors can be rehabilitated.

RESOLUTION NO. 76 -- RESOLUTION ON UNSCRUPULOUS LOAN PRACTICES

WHEREAS, Congress and the Department of Defense have recognized the problem of creditors who prey upon military service members and their dependents. (A "predatory lending practice" is one considered to be "an unfair or abusive loan or credit sale transaction or collection practice"); and
WHEREAS, among those affected are businesses that offer military personnel deferred deposit transactions--small, short-term loans better known as "payday loans--without regard for their ability to repay and with excessive charges packed into the loan and terms requiring, for example, balloon payments and waiver of legal rights, as well as loans from companies that sell expensive products and provide financing for them. Loans such as these have proven to be a source of spiraling debt for many military families; and
WHEREAS, according to a DOD report, at least 48 percent of the enlisted military personnel preyed upon by payday lenders are under 25 years of age and generally have little experience in managing finances, no savings cushion, and no family assistance close by. What they do have that makes them attractive to payday lenders is a regular paycheck, whatever its size, and no likelihood of quitting their employment or being downsized or laid off.
AND WHEREAS, the likelihood is that these military personnel will need a small loan at some point; and
WHEREAS, some estimates are that abusive fees associated with payday lending cost military families over $80 million every year. This figure does not include Internet payday loans, which are estimated to bring in $500 million annually; and
WHEREAS, the effects upon the military family can be dire when they must take out loan after loan, each with equally high APRs and fees, to repay the first and subsequent loans, yet end up owing much more than the initial loan and still not able repay it; and
WHEREAS, the effects upon the military branches and the nation can be significant as well, as pointed out by Navy official who said that under Navy rules, sailors with debts of more than 30 percent of their income cannot be sent overseas because their financial problems could distract
them from their duties or, worse, make them vulnerable to bribery. And, "'Almost every case of espionage in our military has in some way had ties to financial greed or need on the part of the individual'";
THEREFORE, be it resolved that The Retired Enlisted Association supports legislation that protects service members from unscrupulous sales and financing practices.

RESOLUTION NO. 77 – VETERANS FOURTH AMENDMENT PROTECTION

WHEREAS, the 4th amendment to the U.S Constitution declares that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized;”
AND WHEREAS, the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces are sworn to uphold, defend and protect the Constitution of the United States;
AND WHEREAS, the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who are sent into any war zone in the world are doing their part to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution;
AND WHEREAS, it has come to light that the U.S. Government is capturing, storing and examining the phone calls, emails and web site visits, financial records, travel itineraries, and digital images captured on powerful surveillance cameras of U.S. citizens to check for suspicious patterns and associations;
AND WHEREAS, U.S. government programs allow its agencies to collect information about vague and expansively defined 'suspicious activity' from law enforcement and intelligence officials across the country, as well as from the public;
AND WHEREAS, a government program appears to give broad discretion to law enforcement officials to monitor and collect information about innocent people engaged in commonplace activities, and to store that data in criminal intelligence files without any evidence of wrongdoing. There are also serious concerns that the system opens the door to racial profiling;
AND WHEREAS, it has come to light that members of the United States Armed Forces have come under suspicion and been targeted for government surveillance and investigation simply because they served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, and for no other reason;
NOW, THEREFORE, The Retired Enlisted Association opposes government surveillance of U. S. military personnel and veterans who have committed no crime, nor are suspected of having committed a crime, but have simply served their country faithfully in a war zone in defense of the U.S. Constitution.

RESOLUTION NO. 78 - THE RIGHT OF FEDERAL MILITARY AND CIVILIAN PERSONNEL TO PARTICIPATE WITH ASSOCIATIONS

Whereas m
any veteran and military associations host multiple events each year, including awards receptions, wounded warrior symposia, career fairs for military and veteran personnel, military family symposia, etc., as well as state and local chapter events around the country;
And whereas participation by military and civilian leaders and other members is essential to the educational, recognition, patriotic, and other commendable purposes of these events;
And whereas there have been attempts to pass laws that would disrupt or negate the effectiveness of many important educational and other programs that focus public attention on the needs of returning veterans, military personnel, and their families and survivors;
Therefore TREA: The Enlisted Association opposes any law or regulation that would in any way restrict participation by military and federal civilian personnel from attendance or participation in events sponsored by military, veterans and other associations.
Further, we oppose any attempt to exclude members of veteran and military associations from membership on government commissions simply because of their pervious or current membership in a military or veteran association.

RESOLUTION #79 - ENSURING THAT TUITION ASSISTANCE AND GI BILL FUNDS ARE EFFECTIVELY SPENT

WHEREAS, US service members have several programs open to them to advance their education both in the service and after they separate;
AND WHEREAS, the best way to preserve these benefits is to make sure that the funds are not being spent on credentials that won’t advance the service member’s career or on a school that doesn’t properly support its students;
AND WHEREAS, it has been shown that some schools are unfairly targeting the active duty and veterans while not providing a worthwhile product;
THEREFORE, TREA: The Enlisted Association strongly supports efforts to ensure accountability in both the for profit and nonprofit education industries through transparency and compliance with widely-accepted educational standards while also ensuring that as many active duty service members and veterans are able to use their benefits.

RESOLUTION NO. 80 - SUPPORT MAKING THE AMERICAN BATTLEFIELD MONUMENTS COMMISSION (ABMC) RESPONSIBLE FOR VETERANS CEMETERIES WORLD-WIDE

WHEREAS, there are veterans cemeteries outside of the continental United States;
AND WHEREAS, these cemeteries have fallen into disuse or disrepair as the United States military has shifted its global footprint over the years;
AND WHEREAS, it has fallen to private entities to keep up and maintain these repositories of American valor;
THEREFORE, TREA: The Enlisted Association strongly supports making the ABMC responsible for ensuring that America’s warriors and their family members rest with honor and dignity.

RESOLUTION NO. 81 - CREDIT FOR MILITARY TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE

Whereas, during their military service veterans learn skills and occupations that should transfer easily into the civilian job market;
And whereas, veterans have repeatedly found that all levels of government that grant licenses repeatedly refuse to accept military experience and relevant training as the basis for granting license or certification;
And whereas, training and experience during military service provides tremendous expertise for the individual and enormous untapped treasure for the nation;
And whereas, such improper refusals is a great disadvantage to veterans searching for a job in the civilian job market;
Therefore, TREA supports any and all efforts to require all government departments and agencies that grant licenses or certifications to accept relevant military training and experience as satisfying the requirements for those licenses and certificates.

RESOLUTION NO. 82 - PREVENTION OF SUICIDES AMONG SERVICEMEMBERS AND VETERANS

Whereas, in the wake of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars:
Military suicides have spiraled and the Pentagon is losing the battle to prevent them
Active duty personnel are taking their lives at the rate of one every 36 hours and veterans are taking their lives at the rate of one every 80 minutes
More than 6,500 veteran suicides occur every year
The Army Vice Chief of Staff stated that the issue of suicides is the biggest challenge of his 40-year military career
Therefore, TREA urges the Department of Defense to:
Ensure that information about troops’ mental well-being moves with them to their next duty station
Encourage troops to respond truthfully to post-deployment mental health screenings
Continue efforts to remove the stigma of seeking mental health treatment
Urge behavioral health-care providers to tell unit commanders if they consider a service member to be at high risk for suicide
Furthermore, we urge Congress to provide funding for increasing the number of mental health professionals at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and overturn a provision in the
FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act that bars military leaders from collecting information related to a service members’ ownership or possession of a legally acquired firearm.

RESOLUTION NO. 83 - AUDIT THE PENTAGON BUDGET

Whereas, the Pentagon is the largest and most expensive federal government department;
And whereas, Congress passed a law in 1990 requiring all federal departments to complete an annual audit;
And whereas, every single federal department is audited yearly except for the Pentagon;
And whereas the Pentagon is unable to pass an audit;
And whereas the Pentagon does not know how it spends its money, can’t track its own inventory, financial transactions, or even what it has paid out to contractors and received in return;
And whereas Pentagon leaders have claimed that military health care costs are eating the defense budget alive and have said that unless health care costs are brought under control they will soon start jeopardizing the safety of active duty personnel;
Therefore, TREA strongly supports legislation that will force the Pentagon to pass an audit and that no cuts to military benefits even be considered unless and until the Pentagon passes an audit.

RESOLUTION NO. 84 - UNIFORM WEAR AND EXEMPTIONS

Whereas, the Department of Defense has issued what it says is a one-time authorization allowing active-duty military personnel to wear their services’ uniforms to march in a gay pride parade in San Diego;
And, whereas DOD Directive 1334.1 states:
“3.POLICY

It is DoD policy that:
3.1. The wearing of the uniform by members of the Armed Forces (including retired members and members of Reserve components) is prohibited under any of the following circumstances:
3.1.2. During or in connection with furthering political activities, private employment or commercial interests, when an inference of official sponsorship for the activity or interest may be drawn.”
And whereas, DoD policy has historically restricted members from wearing the uniform during political events;
And, whereas the members of TREA believe in the equality of application of rules and regulations, regardless of race, creed, religion, or sexual orientation;
And, whereas even though the Pentagon has said this was a one-time exemption and such decisions will be returned to local commanders, nonetheless a precedent has been set by this action;
Therefore, TREA – The Enlisted Association opposes granting exemptions to any organization or cause that would violate current DOD policy and strongly condemns favoritism of one group over another through selective application of the regulations and guidelines.

RESOLUTION NO. 85 – FULLY FUND MAJOR VA CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS AND ALLOW FOR FLEXIBILITY IN THE LEASING REQUIREMENTS OF VA CLINICS

WHEREAS, VA manages and maintains more than 5,600 buildings and almost 34,000 acres of land with a plant replacement value of approximately $45 billion, and;
WHEREAS, VA has a major construction backlog that has reached between $21 and $25 billion dollars, 21 major Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) projects have been partially funded dating back to FY 2007, and;
WHEREAS, VA needs to invest roughly $22 billion over the next 10 years to close current and future gaps and to finish existing project, and current budget levels saw a decrease in FY 2014 and would only allow all of that work to be completed in about 40 years, and;
WHEREAS, the Office of Management and Budget is requiring VA to fully pay for 20-year leases for VA clinics in present budgets, severely constraining their ability to adequately provide desperately needed services to veterans, NOW,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Retired Enlisted Association supports fully funding VA’s major construction projects so that they may be completed on schedule, as well as allowing VA to amortize the cost of 20-year leases over the budgets in the out years.

RESOLUTION NO. 86 – SUPPORT 2-YEAR ADVANCED FUNDING FOR ALL VA ACCOUNTS

WHEREAS, there is already authority for 2-year advance funding for the Department of Veteran Affairs’ healthcare accounts, and;
WHEREAS, we are all aware of Congress’ inability to overcome partisan battles to ensure America’s funding commitments to those who have committed to defend America, and;
WHEREAS, endless battles over VA funding threaten to delay funding to implement needed programs and can result in layoffs or personnel leaving, and;
WHEREAS, VA without this funding VA can’t perform its service to America’s veterans that the law requires it to, NOW;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, TREA: The Enlisted Association supports two-year advanced funding appropriations for all VA accounts, mandatory and discretionary.

RESOLUTION NO. 87 – SAVE THE COMMISSARY/EXCHANGE BENEFIT

Whereas, Commissary and Exchange use is an earned benefit that is offered to the military community and promised to military retirees as one of the rewards of serving in the Armed Forces;
And whereas, a Defense Data Manpower Center Survey shows that 90 percent of active duty or their family members have used the Commissary within the past year;
And whereas, that survey shows that 82 percent of Commissary patrons are satisfied or very satisfied with their Commissary;
And whereas, Commissaries and Exchanges provide a valuable form of non-pay compensation for military service;
And whereas, the modern Commissary system is a model of efficiency and return on investment to the taxpayer and represents the model of fiscal responsibility that is sought by DoD;
And whereas, the Commissary and Exchange benefits are under serious danger of being drastically cut or even eliminated;
Therefore, TREA: The Enlisted Association hereby reaffirms its support of the Commissary and Exchange systems and opposes any attempt to reduce those benefits as just one more attempt to balance the budget on the backs of military personnel.

RESOLUTION NO. 88 – PROTECTING THE 2ND AMMENDMENT RIGHTS OF VETERANS WITH VA PAYEES

Whereas, under current practice, veterans who have a fiduciary appointed to manage their affairs are deemed to be “mentally defective;”
And whereas, as a result those veterans are automatically reported to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NCIS), a system which prevents individuals from purchasing firearms in the United States, and criminalizes the possession of a firearm;
And whereas, if the VA determines that a person cannot manage their finances and needs a fiduciary, it is shocking and disgraceful that their Second Amendment rights are automatically taken away;
And whereas, the skills required for fiduciary responsibilities are very different from those required for firearm possession and use;
And whereas, judicial proceedings are comprehensive and all interested parties have a right to be represented and heard during them, while it is merely a VA rating specialist who determines that a veteran is mentally defective;
And whereas it is outrageous that veterans can lose their Second Amendment Constitutional rights in this manner;
Therefore, TREA – The Enlisted Association supports legislation that would protect the Second Amendment rights of veterans by requiring that an Article III judicial authority, rather than an internal VA decision maker, make the determination that a veteran poses a danger to themselves or others prior to their name being sent to the NICS.

RESOLUTION NO. 89 – EXPOSURE OF MILITARY PERSONNEL TO TOXIC SUBSTANCES

Whereas, there is a terrible legacy of toxic exposures of American veterans in virtually all conflicts in which the United States has been engaged and even during peacetime service;
And whereas, the United States government has not been transparent or forthcoming about these exposures and their effects on military veterans in the past;
And whereas, there are insidious, long-term effects of exposures to toxic substances such as dioxin, mustard gas, sarin, VX and BZ, asbestos, and Agent Orange;
Therefore, TREA: The Enlisted Association supports legislation to research prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment and rehabilitation of health conditions associated with exposure to toxic substances;
Furthermore, we support a coordinated, ongoing, national outreach and education campaign using such means as direct mail, on-line media, social media, and traditional media to communicate information about such exposures and health conditions to all veterans and their families.


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