July 22, 2016
Just as defense bill negotiations get underway on Capitol Hill, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter sent a letter to House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders threatening a presidential veto over a list of 44 objections to various provisions in the House or Senate version of the bill.
Carter said many proposals “would impact the Department's ability to operate efficiently and effectively in this time of constrained resources and ongoing conflict.”
Issues drawing Carter's ire include the House's addition of $18 billion the Pentagon didn't request and taking those funds from the wartime operations account, which would require the new president to submit a request for supplemental war appropriations. He also cited the defense bills' proposals to reorganize and downsize the defense department and reduce the number of generals and senior civilians.
MOAA was pleased to see the Pentagon objects to the Senate-proposed housing allowance cuts that would severely penalize dual-military couples and junior enlisted members who take military roommates to save money. MOAA agrees with Carter's statements that the proposal “would reinstate previously failed policies” and “disproportionately affect female servicemembers and military families in which both military members have chosen to serve their country.”
However, MOAA strongly disagrees with the Carter letter's objections to the:
- House-approved increases in force levels for all services instead of the Administration-proposed cuts;
- House-approved 2.1 percent military pay raise rather than the 1.6 percent proposed in the Pentagon's budget;
- House's refusal to impose disproportional TRICARE fee increases recommended by the Pentagon; and
- Senate-approved plan to allow more flexibility in moving spouses and families in conjunction with PCS moves to allow for work, education, or health issues.
You can be influential in the final outcome of the defense bill. Use MOAA's helpful August Recess package and visit your elected officials while they're in their home districts during the summer break.
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