From the desk of the ALA President/Washington Update 1/8

From the desk of the ALA President

Democrats on way to taking Senate control. Control of the U.S. Senate is on the way to shifting to the Democrats. All committee and subcommittee chairs will shift to the Democrats. Normally negotiations between parties over committee sizes and ratios, action of committee assignments begin in November after the election. Because of the need for a run-off election in Georgia that took place on January 5, this organization was delayed. Congress officially convened on January 3 with the Republicans in control. While they are in the majority and control the agenda and legislative pace, they do not have the 60 votes needed to pass legislation. That is, unless, as threatened, they change the rules to eliminate the filibuster in which case they only need a simple majority. Committee assignment resolutions are considered in late January and committee funding resolutions are considered in February. Senators are already bidding for which committees they want to belong.

Democrats now will control the confirmation process for Pentagon picks with a series of quick nomination hearings to begin after the inauguration of President-elect Biden.

For resale programs, the key committees are Armed Services, which sets policy and multi-year funding levels for DoD, the Defense Appropriations Committees which allocate annual funding for DoD. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) will relinquish his Chairmanship of the committee to Jack Reed (D-R.I.). Resale program jurisdiction on the SASC falls under the Personnel Subcommittee. This Subcommittee was chaired by Tom Tillis (R-N.C.), but the chairmanship will shift to the Democrats and the current Ranking Member of the Subcommittee is Kirstin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). For Appropriations, the Chairmanship of the Defense Subcommittee will probably shift to the current ranking member, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) from Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). Committee staff ratios also shift with the Democrats having more control over staff positions. It’s unclear as to the practical effect the shift will have on resale programs. Senator Jim Inhofe resisted efforts at privatizing commissaries and has consistently supported full funding or commissary budgets. And, while Democrats are generally supportive of funding for military family programs, there will be pressure on the overall Defense spending levels as progressives in the party argue for more domestic spending at the expense of defense spending.

The Senate Veterans Affairs committee chair will probably shift to the Ranking member John Tester (D-MT) and the Gary Peters (D-Mich.) is in line to replace Ron Johnson, (R-Wisc.) as Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee which has jurisdiction over the CGX.

House of Representatives transition. Because leadership of the House did not change hands, they are further along in organizing for the next session of Congress. For the House Armed Services Committee, Adam Smith (D-Wash.) will retain the Chair and Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) has been approved to be Ranking Member of the Committee, replacing Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) who has retired from Congress. The Committee is still organizing but it appears the Jackie Speier (D-Calif) will be Chairman and Trent Kelly (R-Miss) will be ranking member. Three democrats were appointed to the committee including Joe Morelle (D-NY) and newly elected members Rai Kahele (D-Hawaii), and Sara Jacobs (D-Calif).

Pentagon transition taking shape. The Biden team has announced … READ MORE

 

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PENTAGON AND MILITARY NEWS

New in 2021: Confirmation timing for new DoD, VA secretaries could be tricky

Military Times

President-elect Joe Biden announced his picks to lead the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs in early December. When they’ll actually be confirmed into those roles is still unclear. But the uncertainty over control of the Senate has pushed some of that confirmation work back by several weeks. Instead of combing through the candidates’ resumes, Senate leaders are still wondering who will control the chamber in the 117th Congress, with two Georgia seats to be decided in a Jan. 5 runoff.  READ MORE

 

Biden selects Hicks, Kahl for top Pentagon roles

Defense News

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to tap Kathleen Hicks as deputy secretary of defense and Colin Kahl as the undersecretary of defense for policy, bringing in two experienced hands to guide the Pentagon under the defense secretary nominee, Lloyd Austin. READ MORE

 

New in 2021: More companies commit to hiring military spouses

Military Times

As so many military spouses struggle to maintain a meaningful career amidst repeated moves, defense and service officials and private organizations have attacked the decades-old problem of spouse unemployment from various sides. READ MORE

 

New in 2021: Confirmation timing for new DoD, VA secretaries could be tricky

Military Times

President-elect Joe Biden announced his picks to lead the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs in early December. When they’ll actually be confirmed into those roles is still unclear. But the uncertainty over control of the Senate has pushed some of that confirmation work back by several weeks. Instead of combing through the candidates’ resumes, Senate leaders are still wondering who will control the chamber in the 117th Congress, with two Georgia seats to be decided in a Jan. 5 runoff. READ MORE

 

Biden selects Hicks, Kahl for top Pentagon roles

Defense News

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to tap Kathleen Hicks as deputy secretary of defense and Colin Kahl as the undersecretary of defense for policy, bringing in two experienced hands to guide the Pentagon under the defense secretary nominee, Lloyd Austin. READ MORE

 

New in 2021: More companies commit to hiring military spouses

Military Times

As so many military spouses struggle to maintain a meaningful career amidst repeated moves, defense and service officials and private organizations have attacked the decades-old problem of spouse unemployment from various sides. READ MORE

 

Pentagon reinstates military travel restrictions amid vaccine rollout

UPI

The majority of military installations have reinstated travel restrictions as COVID-19 case counts spike among military members and the federal government continues its rollout of the vaccine. According to a Pentagon document published this week, 59 of 62 naval bases had travel restrictions reinstated, and 140 of 231 U.S. military installations around the world — or 71% — were under some form of restriction. READ MORE

 

INDUSTRY NEWS

Amazon Halo fitness tracker, which measures body fat and listens to you, launches for everyone

CNBC

Amazon’s health and fitness tracker is now available for anyone to purchase. The Halo band costs $99.99, provides access to the Halo app and comes with a six-month subscription to accompanying health services. Amazon launched the device in August, but it was only available to consumers on an invitation-only basis. READ MORE

 

Amazon Halo fitness tracker, which measures body fat and listens to you, launches for everyone

CNBC

Amazon’s health and fitness tracker is now available for anyone to purchase. The Halo band costs $99.99, provides access to the Halo app and comes with a six-month subscription to accompanying health services. Amazon launched the device in August, but it was only available to consumers on an invitation-only basis. READ MORE

 

Walgreens to hire 25,000 as part of plan to start giving COVID-19 vaccine

Chicago Tribune

Walgreens expects to receive its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 21 and plans to inoculate nursing home residents and workers at more than 30,000 long-term care facilities nationwide. Deerfield-based Walgreens plans to hire about 25,000 people across the U.S., including up to 9,000 pharmacists and other healthcare workers, to administer the vaccine. Once the vaccine is approved, Walgreens will administer it to long-term care facilities through a partnership with pharmacy service provider PharMerica, the companies said during a panel discussion Friday on the vaccine rollout. READ MORE

 

MILITARY AND RESALE NEWS

Healthy savings: Want to spend less on nutritious foods while you start your new year’s resolution to be healthier? Try your commissary

DVIDS

Family Fit Lifestyle Month in January highlights nutrition and the benefits of exercising. And the commissary is there to help service members and their families achieve their fitness goals without flexing their budgets. “Regardless of what you didn’t do in 2020, you can always start a healthy lifestyle in 2021which includes a consistent fitness plan and nutritious meals,” said Marine Sgt. Maj. Michael R. Saucedo, the Defense Commissary Agency’s senior enlisted advisor to the DeCA director. READ MORE

 

New in 2021: Curbside pickup coming to more commissaries

Air Force Times

One thing the pandemic has shown officials at the Defense Commissary Agency: customers want the Click 2 Go service at their commissary, allowing them to order their groceries online and pick them up at curbside. Officials had been slowly rolling out the service before the pandemic, and have now increased it to 10 stores, with another scheduled to start Jan. 4 at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Florida. More stores are scheduled in 2021 as the agency continues its technology rollout at stores to enable the Click 2 Go. READ MORE

 

2 Army veterans open Hawaiian BBQ restaurant in downtown Waco

Waco Tribune

It was 2003, and U.S. Army buddies Fred Ballard and Raymond Garrison were hunkered down in Baghdad, Iraq, mortar fire making their lives miserable. “It was a dangerous job,” said Ballard, 47, a Waxahachie native who, though otherwise sharp, retired from the military with a 100% disability rating because of hearing loss. Improvised explosive devices were an occupational hazard during his multiple Middle East tours, one explosion bursting his eardrums. READ MORE

 

Healthy savings: Want to spend less on nutritious foods while you start your new year’s resolution to be healthier? Try your commissary

DVIDS

Family Fit Lifestyle Month in January highlights nutrition and the benefits of exercising. And the commissary is there to help service members and their families achieve their fitness goals without flexing their budgets. “Regardless of what you didn’t do in 2020, you can always start a healthy lifestyle in 2021which includes a consistent fitness plan and nutritious meals,” said Marine Sgt. Maj. Michael R. Saucedo, the Defense Commissary Agency’s senior enlisted advisor to the DeCA director. READ MORE

 

New in 2021: Curbside pickup coming to more commissaries

Air Force Times

One thing the pandemic has shown officials at the Defense Commissary Agency: customers want the Click 2 Go service at their commissary, allowing them to order their groceries online and pick them up at curbside. Officials had been slowly rolling out the service before the pandemic, and have now increased it to 10 stores, with another scheduled to start Jan. 4 at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Florida. More stores are scheduled in 2021 as the agency continues its technology rollout at stores to enable the Click 2 Go. READ MORE

 

2 Army veterans open Hawaiian BBQ restaurant in downtown Waco

Waco Tribune

It was 2003, and U.S. Army buddies Fred Ballard and Raymond Garrison were hunkered down in Baghdad, Iraq, mortar fire making their lives miserable. “It was a dangerous job,” said Ballard, 47, a Waxahachie native who, though otherwise sharp, retired from the military with a 100% disability rating because of hearing loss. Improvised explosive devices were an occupational hazard during his multiple Middle East tours, one explosion bursting his eardrums. READ MORE

 

Matthew McConaughey featured on MCX Book Club for ‘Greenlights’

ALA

Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, author of “Greenlights”, will be featured in the second series of the “MCX Book Club: Cover to Cover” that premiered on Tuesday, December 22nd at 7 p.m. (EST) at www.facebook.com/MarineCorpsExchange. In this light-hearted, conversational style interview, McConaughey provides insight and reflections into his new book “Greenlights” as well as exploring his writing processes, discussing resiliency and discipline. McConaughey even reveals what’s next for him!

Written with candor, humor, and profound insight and humility, the uniquely McConaughey “Greenlights” is an unconventional portrait of an unconventional artist and a wise road map to navigate a life of more greenlights — one that recognizes that the red and yellow lights eventually turn green, too. In “Greenlights”, readers will learn about many of the adventures and formative moments in McConaughey’s life, and the sense of meaning he’s found through his philosophy of the same name. From growing up as an adventurous kid in a tough-love Texas home of rule breakers, to revelatory journeys to Australia, Peru, and Mali, to his early days in Hollywood and meteoric rise to fame, McConaughey shares how his life experiences have instilled in him the importance of competent values, the power of new experiences, and as he puts it, “either changing your reality or changing how you see it.”

“Greenlights” is on sale now at your local Marine Corps Exchange (MCX). The MCX has a limited number of copies with a signed bookplate at select locations.

About the Author: Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey is a married man, a father of three children, and a loyal son and brother. He considers himself a storyteller by occupation, feels better with a day’s sweat on him, and is an aspiring orchestral conductor. In 2019, McConaughey became a professor of practice at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as Minister of Culture/M.O.C. for the University of Texas and the City of Austin. McConaughey is also brand ambassador for Lincoln Motor Company, an owner of the Major League Soccer club Austin FC, co-creator of Wild Turkey Longbranch and founder of the Just Keep Livin Foundation. LEARN MORE

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