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Mar 27 09 7:52 PM
Mar 27 09 7:53 PM
A fiscal 2010 budget plan
is moving through the Democratic-controlled U.S. Congress. While the bill would spend less than President Barack
Obama sought, it would largely embrace the president's major initiatives: investing more in education, seeking expanded access to healthcare for
those who can't afford it and using federal funds to develop alternative, renewable sources of energy.
In February, Obama asked for $3.55 trillion in spending for the
fiscal year starting Oct. 1. His plan was estimated to produce a $1.4 trillion deficit.
The budget that Congress will write in the coming weeks in
response to Obama's requests will be a complex bill. The rules governing how the budget is approved by Congress and what the document accomplishes also are
Here are some key things to keep in mind:
THE RULES OF THE GAME:
* While the budget sets broad spending and tax parameters, it
doesn't actually make those spending and tax policies happen. Subsequent legislation does that.
* The budget cannot be "filibustered" in the Senate. It
only needs a simple majority to pass, instead of the 60 supporters that regular bills must win to avoid roadblocks. As a result, Democrats ought to be able to
push a budget through Congress with little or no Republican support.
* Congress can embrace or reject any of the ideas contained in the
president's budget proposal. Congress can even disagree with some of the economic assumptions the White House budget is built upon and opt for its own --
meaning the final budget could look quite different from that proposed by Obama.
* The document that Congress will try to pass in coming weeks is
called the "budget resolution."
* The budget resolution does not have the force of law and the
president does not sign it. Instead, it is a blueprint that will guide subsequent legislation - tax and appropriations bills that actually spend money on
programs contained in the budget or authorization bills that likely would be needed to allow new Obama programs to start, like expanded healthcare.
* Congress sometimes fails to pass a budget, but the government
typically keeps operating through appropriations measures. The last time that happened was in 2006, when the Republican majorities in the House and Senate
could not agree on an election-year budget. Budget experts say it's important to have a budget resolution in place each year so that spending is not done
* In years it does pass a budget, Congress is sketching out its
priorities and intentions for the coming year as well as looking ahead four years or so.
Mar 27 09 8:04 PM
Mar 28 09 3:51 PM
Apr 2 09 11:40 AM
Apr 2 09 6:58 PM
Defense budget plan could be pushed to
March 31, 2009
administration likely will deliver to Congress its 2010 federal budget plan - including its first Defense budget request - in mid-May, several weeks later than
initially planned, according to several sources.
Defense Department officials earlier this year set a mid-April target for finalizing President Barack Obama's first defense spending request. Earlier this
month, the delivery date was pushed back to late April.
February, the White House released a broad sketch of its 2010 federal budget that revealed the administration's plans to seek about $534 billion for the
base Pentagon budget.
The task of taking office and quickly preparing a federal budget is difficult for any new administration, as a number of forces - such as a skeleton staff and
a not-yet-fashioned security strategy - complicate the process.
Winslow Wheeler, a former congressional aide who is director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Washington-based Center for Defense Information,
offered a different take on the holdup: "The Clintonista policy wonk and nonaccountable finances specialists must be having a hard time trying to please
everyone." Several members of the Obama Pentagon team served in the building under President Bill Clinton.
This rapid budget build was even more challenging for the Obama administration, sources say, because of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and because
they had to pare down the $585 billion defense baseline blueprint left behind by the Bush administration.
experts were nonplussed by the initial week-or-so change.
But with several sources saying that the final version of the budget request might not be ready until the week of May 11, several of those experts are
predicting Congress will have a hard time finishing the defense spending bills during this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
Adams, who oversaw Defense budgeting at the Office of Management and Budget under the Clinton administration, said, "A budget arriving that late is likely
to end up in 'continuing resolution land' by September."
That would mean Congress would pass a measure funding all federal initiatives at their 2009 levels.
"Even with the best effort possible and all the bipartisanship in the world, the congressional process just
moves too slowly for [passage of a 2010 defense spending bill] to happen," Adams said.
Cord Sterling, vice president for legislative affairs at the Arlington, Va.-based Aerospace Industries Association, said with Congress dealing with
Washington's response to the economic meltdown, it is unlikely a Defense bill will get passed by Sept. 30.
Sterling said the effect on Pentagon programs would depend on
"If you're talking 10 days, it would be not very much," he said. "But if it's six months, that would start to create some
And yet Adams also said that Congress might not delay on the 2010 bill.
"The budget committees [in both chambers] are sending a very clear signal that they are prepared to provide the full amount for
Defense the administration has requested," he said. "That makes a strong case for sorting out DoD and putting [the bill] on a faster track to
completion before the end of September."
Apr 3 09 8:38 PM
Budget Resolutions: Pay Raise, TRICARE, and More
The House and Senate approved their respective versions of the FY2010 Budget Resolution on Friday before taking off for the two-week Easter recess. In the
meantime, House and Senate leaders will be working to resolve the differences between the two versions so they can pass a final resolution once Congress
Of necessity, Hill leaders find themselves in a "cart-before-the-horse" mode this year. Their rules require finishing the budget resolution before
April 15, on the assumption that the President's budget is delivered to them in February. But every newly elected administration needs extra time to
prepare its initial budget - which won't be delivered to Congress until the end of April.
In March, leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees wrote their respective Budget Committees to request extra budget headroom for several
specific priorities. Their requests included extra allocations for a 3.4% military pay raise (vs. the 2.9% proposed by the Pentagon), additional progress to
ease VA compensation offsets to military retired pay and SBP annuities, and to reject any increases in TRICARE fees that the Administration may propose in its
final budget submission.
The recommendations of both Armed Services committees for 3.4% pay raise are a very good sign that it will be approved, as the full Congress has agreed with
such joint recommendations in the past.
Both budget resolutions also include "deficit-neutral reserve funds" that could potentially address compensation improvements for disabled retirees;
SBP-DIC survivors; Guard-Reserve retirement, health and GI Bill benefits; and DoD and VA health care issues. It's nice that Congress acknowledged those
needs, but these provisions offer no firm commitments. The "deficit-neutral" qualifier means they can be done only if Congress finds other
"mandatory spending" reductions to offset any increases in those areas. The difficulty of identifying such offsets is why we haven't made more
progress in past years.
Apr 10 09 12:16 AM
Apr 10 09 1:52 AM
May 11 09 7:43 PM
May 11 09 8:15 PM
May 11 09 8:16 PM
Does not play well With others.
The time may be at hand for all to receive concurrent receipt.
May 20 09 1:21 PM
May 20 09 1:42 PM
May 20 09 6:01 PM
Form letters really do little to make an impact. Plus the length of this one puts the staffers asleep because it has all been said before.
It is very-very important to write a short personal letter stating what it is you want the "critters" to do.
1) Keep it respectful, but get your point across.
2) Remind them that they will lose your vote and respect if they do not pass what you want passed!
3) If you can, let them know just how big your voting block is. For example, my CH 61 friend (under 20) and his wife still active duty both vote. That is
2 votes right there. Now include the number of your relatives and friends - who also vote - which equals more votes against said critter. The threat of
losing votes makes their ears perk up.
4) Remind them that this is NOT A BENEFIT we are demanding. This is about correcting the injustice of (A) having to fund our own
retirement/ disability dollar for dollar (B) the issue of forced retirement/Ch 61 under and above 20, and (3) the inclusion of all military disabled without
regard to percent of rating.
5) Send your letter to every critter, REGARDLESS OF PARTY, in your district and THEN CALL THEM to say, "I CAPT Jones sent your office
a letter on 20 May 09, concerning concurrent receipt for all disabled veterans, regardless of length of service. And I am calling to remind
Congressman/Senator mucky muck that I expect him/her to support this issue in every way."
6) Send the letter again and call them again right before any vote that would impact this issue, such as the 2010 budget. When you call
the critter's office, at least when I worked there, they have to log the call and the issue involved. Have your friends and family also call and write the
lawmaker. Let them see, just how important this issue is., For us vets and the lawmakers' career. (Oh, also call any of their support offices they have
located in their district.
It is key to keep the pressure on them.
One final thought, I am very sure that every state is represented by the members of this community. Can we do a little tracking that list the states
we have covered. For me it is Arizona. Anyone else? (remember to send your personal letters to everyone of your reps regardless of party.
Thanks for your time.
May 21 09 2:36 AM
May 21 09 1:19 PM
May 21 09 2:33 PM
May 22 09 12:42 PM
Another administration putting out false information again. If I remember correctly it would have cost 45 billion to grant concurrent receipt to all retired
disabled veterans, including those under 50% disabled. The cost associated with granting concurrent receipt to retired disabled veterans under 50% disabled is
exaggerated by about 150%. View the following information from the Veterans Disability Benefit Commission web site regarding the cost of concurrent receipt,
to the 10 to 40% disabled left out of the original CR legislation.
Option Description # of people $(10 yrs)
3a Adding 10 to 40% 450,000 $19.26B
Now view what the sources at Capital Hill stated for your article.
Why has Obama targeted Chapter 61 retirees for concurrent receipt? Sources on Capitol Hill said the White House's Office of Management and Budget
developed the idea as an affordable compromise. It would cost $5.4 billion over 10 years versus $45 billion if Obama fulfilled a campaign pledge to extend
concurrent receipt to all disabled military retirees. \
Sure seems like the folks in Washington are blowing smoke again by creating a propaganda cost amount that is not true. Fact is that they have bought onto
the logic advanced by the prior administration that their are categories of worthy and not worthy veterans. If your injury is not combat related, then your
service to country is simply not honorable or worthy of compensation. The simple fact is that the Obama administration has broken their campaign promise and
does not intent to honor his campaign pledge to grant concurrent receipt to all retired disabled veterans. At the cost of under 20 billion for ten years, this
would put the annual cost at less than two billion for the 450,000 retired disabled veterans who are currently paying for their own disability. This
administration found a cheap way out of his promise by placating to another "special" category of veteran, that is the Chapter 61 veteran. While it
will be good that these veterans receive concurrent receipt, it is hardly a solution to the entire problem of concurrent receipt.
It just proves that this administration will lie to keep from supporting all retired disabled veterans on the issue of concurrent receipt. If they do not
believe the under 50% disabled veteran is a "worthy" class in the scheme of consideration, at least they could get their cost figures correct. By
inflating the cost figures they do a disservice to the under 50% disabled veteran by painting them as a larger cost burden than they actually represent.
Inflating the cost of the issue by 150% is not only a lie but a flagrant manipulation of the facts.
Gods blessing to all, and thankyou for all that
each is doing on the issue of concurrent receipt for "everyone"
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