July 15, 2015 Share this on: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Pinterest Bookmark and Share
Inside this issue
  NDAA Conference Winding Down  
 
Talks are still ongoing but negotiations on the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2016 by a joint House-Senate conference committee appear to be winding down.  On July 15, news agencies were reporting that congressional leaders believe they can agree to a final version of the bill (HR 1735) in time for a House floor vote on the July 24.  Roughly two dozen issues needing resolution remain, but conference leaders are confident these can be addressed quickly.  Keep your eyes open for future updates from AFSA; we will provide details of the conference report once it becomes available.
 
Meanwhile, AFSA's NDAA campaign ended July 10.  Thank you to all those who participated.  More than 50,000 letters were sent through our Legislative Action Center over the past week.  We believe it will help produce a better bill for the military and our members.
 

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  Dwell Time and PT Exemptions for New AF Mothers Increases to a Year  
 
On July 14 Air Force officials announced that the six-month deferment for female Airmen to accomplish their fitness assessments following childbirth will be increased to 12 months to align with recent changes to the deployment deferments.  "The goal is to alleviate the strain on some of our talented Airmen who choose to leave the Air Force as they struggle to balance deployments and family issues, and this is especially true soon after childbirth," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. The new one-year deferment applies to female Airmen who gave birth on or after the effective date of March 6, 2015, and official guidance will be available in the coming weeks.
 
Dwell times are also being adjusted for certain mothers and the service is looking to extend the maternity and convalescent leave period, similar to the recent changes announced by the Secretary of the Navy.  A number of news agencies have covered the story but you should read the official announcement located here Mothers.
 

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  VA Healthcare $ Shortfall  
 
Lawmakers are running short on time to fix a nearly $3 billion funding shortfall for VA's healthcare programs.  In late June VA told Congress it needed approximately $2.5 billion to cover shortfalls caused by an increased demand by veterans for health care, including costly treatments for Hepatitis C.  The remainder of the funding gap will be covered through various cost-saving measures including hiring freezes and furloughs of certain personnel.  Recently VA asked Congress for the authority to use money from the new Veterans Choice program to pay for the increased health care, but lawmakers have not decided how they intend to fix the problem.  The department says it may be forced to shut down hospital operations during August 2015 if it does not receive additional funding or be granted the flexibility to shift what it already has.
 

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