Lawmakers are near the end of the “lame duck” session, finishing their legislative agenda for the remainder of the 115th Congress. An ambitious agenda lays ahead.

Congress will have to come up with a spending agreement for much of the federal government after Dec. 7. The debate over a new federal spending package will likely revolve around the insistence of a funding boost for border security to ensure President Donald Trump will sign the bill.

While Congress already passed both a defense authorization and appropriation bill earlier this year, giving DoD funding by the start of the fiscal year instead of having to resort to a stopgap continuing resolution, lawmakers omitted several important provisions from the authorization bill in their quest for expediency. That means Congress will have to pass standalone bills to:

  • Expand presumptive exposure of Blue Water Navy veterans to Agent Orange (H.R. 299 and S. 422)
  • Eliminate the widows tax on military survivors (H.R. 846 and S. 339)
  • End financial penalties for disabled veterans by allowing full concurrent receipt (H.R. 333 and S. 61)

[RELATED: VSOs Push Back Against Blue Water Navy Comments]

Time is of the essence. With only 16 working days when both House and Senate members are in session, this is our last chance this year to get these bills enacted into law. If lawmakers fail to act on any of these bills before Congress adjourns, we'll go right back to square one in January, getting legislation reintroduced and getting cosponsors to sign up once more.

Please ACT NOW AND SEND A MOAA-SUGGESTED LETTER to your elected officials.