Lincoln Receives Top Award from Association of United States Navy

Washington – U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) today was awarded the National Legislative Advocacy Award by the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN) “in recognition of her superb leadership and outstanding service” on behalf of military personnel and their families in Arkansas and across the nation.  AUSN’s highest legislative award is given to one U.S. Senator each year.

“I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from the Association of the United States Navy,” Lincoln said. “However, those truly deserving recognition are the men and women of the United States Navy and all who are serving or have served our Nation at home or abroad. We owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to these brave servicemembers and their families who have sacrificed much to keep our Country safe.”

Arkansas is home to more than 2,500 Navy Reserve & Navy members.

Lincoln was recognized by AUSN chiefly for her work to improve the quality of life for both active and reserve military personnel and their families. Over the past year, Lincoln has led a number of efforts to enhance educational benefits and health care for reservists and improve compensation for survivors of veterans.  Lincoln’s record of fighting for Arkansas’s military servicemembers, veterans and their families can be found here.

“We are proud to present the Association of the United States Navy’s highest legislative award to Senator Blanche Lincoln, in recognition of her strong leadership in the Congress on behalf of all service members and their families,” said RADM Casey Coane, USN, retired and AUSN Executive Director. “We especially recognize her efforts to enhance benefits for the Reserve Components.”

In addition, Lincoln helped to add provisions to the Defense Authorization Act that would increase pay and benefits, improve health care quality and accessibility, and provide valuable support services for America’s service members, veterans and their families.

Lincoln continues to champion efforts to allow veterans to draw full and immediate concurrent receipt of disability and retirement pay, address inequities in the VA’s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation program and fight to reduce barriers to absentee voting for military personnel and overseas voters.

Ike Puzon, Captain, USN, retired and Dir of Legislation for AUSN said, “Our members and their families are pleased to be able to honor Senator Lincoln with our highest legislative award for her strong leadership with Reserve GI Bill improvements, Veteran’s Status for Reserve members, and Post 9-11 GI Bill improvements, in support of the Navy and Navy Reserve members.”

This year, Lincoln has authored a number of bills on behalf of Arkansas’s military families, including:

·        The Selected Reserve Continuum of Care Act, which would require more accessible health care for Guardsmen and Reservists so they can maintain the medical readiness required to fulfill their missions.
·        The Selected Reservist Education Enhancement Act, which would ensure that future GI Bill benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserve keep pace with the national average cost of tuition.
·        The TRIP Act, which would authorize the DoD to reimburse members of the Selected Reserve for drill travel expenses in excess of 50 miles, including mileage, meals, and lodging at the standard government rate.
·        The Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act, which would grant full veteran status to members of the reserve components who have 20 or more years of service and do not otherwise qualify under law.
·        The Veterans Survivor Fairness Act would address inequities in the VA’s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) program by: 1.) Increasing the basic DIC rate so it is equivalent to the rate paid to survivors of federal civilian employees, 2.) Providing a graduated scale of benefits so many survivors are no longer denied benefits because of an arbitrary eligibility restriction, and 3.) Allowing surviving spouses who remarry after age 55 to retain DIC benefits.