"Latest Update from National Headquarters"
December 15, 2017
FRA Urges Congress Not to Pass Another
FRA and other members of The Military Coalition have dispatched a letter to key Congressional lawmakers asking them to pass the FY2018 Defense Appropriations before the current Continuing Resolution (CR) funding expires December 22, 2017. Another CR only extends FY2017 spending levels and would stymie the Armed Forces ability to grow, equip and train the total force necessary to meet growing international threats. The letter reminds legislators that we are a nation at war, our uniform services are suffering from dangerous readiness and force-structure issues and the total force cannot remain effective, absent an adequate and timely budget.
The letter also mentions problems caused by sequestration (automatic across the board) cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, which sets strict caps on both defense and non-defense spending. In the past, Congress managed to make short-term compromises, lifting the caps for a couple of years at a time. No such agreement applies to FY2018. In related news, the President signed the FY2018 Defense Authorization Act (H.R.2810) into law. In order to be fully implemented, Congress must pass appropriations legislation and must change or eliminate sequestration defense spending caps. Members are strongly urged to use the FRA Action to ask their legislators to exclude Defense from sequestration.
VA Suspends Applications for New VA ID
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has stopped accepting applications for the new VA identification card due to technical problems created by the large volume of applications. This story was originally reported in the December 1 edition of NewsBytes. The ID card, authorized by Congress in 2015, is free of charge and is intended to provide proof of military service in lieu of a veteran having to carry their DD-214. FRA will monitor the VA and let Shipmates know when the technical problems are resolved.
FRA Has a New Video
Be sure to check out the new video on Fleet Reserve Association's YouTube page or our Facebook page. We are enlisting your help in sharing it on your Branch page and social media platforms. Thank you for your support.
TRICARE Article on Upcoming Changes
The December issue of FRAtoday has a lead feature, authored by the Defense Health Agency, that outline all the changes coming in TRICARE. TRICARE FOR LIFE will not be impacted by any of the changes. The impacts will be only to those who are age 65 and younger.
FRA Headquarters Holiday Closures
FRA National Headquarters (NHQ) staff wishes everyone a Merry Christmas, a safe and joyous holiday and a very happy 2018! Our offices will be closed Friday, December 22, 2017 for Christmas, and will reopen on Tuesday, December 26, 2017. NHQ will also be closed on December 29, 2017 in observance of New Year's Day and will reopen Monday, January 2, 2018. Due to the holiday schedule, the next edition of FRA Newsbytes will be Friday, January 5, 2018.
NewsBytes is FRA's weekly legislative update. If you received this through a forward and would like to subscribe, please e-mail us and include your name and contact information in the body of e-mail. If you are a member of FRA or LA FRA, please include your member number as well. To unsubscribe, please respond to this email with "unsubscribe" in the message line.
Members are encouraged to voice their opinion on pertinent issues by visiting our FRA Action Center.
FRA has represented the interests of current, retired, reserve and veteran Sea Services personnel and their families for over 90 years. If you are not a member and are eligible, please click here to head to our website. The larger the membership base, the louder your voice is heard on Capitol Hill.
LOCAL TIDEWATER HEADACHE
Commuters, get ready to shell out even more cash next year.
Starting Jan. 1, tolls on the Midtown and Downtown tunnels will increase, according to a news release.
Rates will jump 14 cents during peak hours and 8 cents the rest of the time for drivers with an E-Z Pass transponder, to $2.09 and $1.73, respectively.
Someone crossing one of the tunnels twice a day during peak hours, five times a week – with an E-Z Pass – would spend about $1,086 in tolls each year, in addition to any other traveling.
Rates for registered and unregistered pay-by-plate drivers and heavy vehicles are also going up, reaching a high of $11.77 for unregistered heavy vehicles.
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"National Headquarters Staff Listing"
1 National Executive Director - Thomas J. Snee: [email protected], ext. 101
2 Finance Officer - Nora Graham: [email protected], ext. 102
3 Accounting - Misrak A. Zeleke, Senior Accountant: [email protected], ext. 114
4 Administration - Teresa Wiener, Director: [email protected], ext. 103
5 Call Program Rep- Amanda Boehm: [email protected],ext 112
6 Communications & Marketing - William D. Stevenson, Director: [email protected], ext. 126
7 Database Manager - Sameer N Mulla: [email protected], 109
8 IT Operations - Sami A Alsamawi, Manager: [email protected], ext. 119
9 Legislative Programs - John Davis, Director: [email protected], ext. 110
10 Stephen M. Tassin, Assistant Legislative Director: [email protected], ext. 113
11 Brian Condon, Assistant Legislative Director: [email protected], ext. 127
12 Bob Washington, Legislative Program Healthcare Advisor: [email protected], ext. 125
13 Communications & Marketing - Victoria Duran, Manager: [email protected], ext. 124
14 Member Services - Shirley Moore, Manager: [email protected], ext. 120
15 Veterans' Services Director - Chris Slawinski, VSO: [email protected], ext. 115
17 Member Services, [email protected], (800) FRA-1924
To order items for sale (membership pins, etc):
18 Donna Simms: [email protected], ext. 117
19 Mail Services - Jimmy Short: [email protected], ext. 116
Send questions and comments to [email protected] or call (800) FRA-1924.