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.
RESOLUTION NO. 12 -- SURVIVOR BENEFIT PLAN (SBP) - COMPLETE
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.
RESOLUTION NO. 15 -- UNLIMITED ACCESS TO MILITARY COMMISSARY FOR MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVE (Active and Retired) - COMPLETE 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.
RESOLUTION NO. 16 -- POLICY ON NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION (NATO) EXPANSION - COMPLETE
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.
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