Legislative Dispatch: NDAA Day 7
Posted by Ramsey Sulayman on December 7
With Senate passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, the Senate version now has to be reconciled with the House version in a process called "conference." When a bill is conferenced, a group of senators and a group of representatives, called "conferees," meet to decide what provisions from each version of the bill will make it into the final bill that will be sent to the President for action. This process is very important because some sections which we support may change or disappear entirely.
The NDAA is a huge bill and contains sections dealing with everything from the setting the number of troops on active duty to military retiree benefits and everything in between. There are very controversial sections and there are sections which are almost pro forma and deal with routine matters. Over the next several days, the conferees will meet in intense negotiations to hammer out the final bill. Already some of the more controversial sections have already garnered media attention and statements from House or Senate political leaders that indicate on which items they are going to draw lines in the stand and take hard stands. The White House has also already done the same and the conferees haven't even all been named yet.
IAVA has weighed in with lawmakers on which provisions of the House version and which provisions of the Senate version we would like to see included in the final bill. Now that Senate amendments have been passed and added, we will remind lawmakers which provisions are important to our members and what IAVA believes will help out OIF and OEF vets the most. Below is a short list of the general topics we're tracking and pushing. More thorough explanations of the provisions will follow in the days to come.
- - Employment and re-employment measures including help for unemployed vets by requiring that states consider military training when issuing vocational licenses
- - Protect servicemembers from predatory for-profit schools by banning recruiting on military bases
- - Strengthening consumer credit protections
- - Expanding mental health care access
- - A suite of provisions on military sexual trauma (MST) that will improve investigations and enhance records
We are not solely focused on the NDAA, though. We will also be work to make sure that the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee and the House Veteran Affairs Committee come together to pass other worthwhile measures for education and employment that still remain on their agendas.
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