December 18, 2015
Today, Congress was able to reach an agreement on a budget deal to keep the government funded for the next ten months.
The pending Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 includes funding for the following provisions, among others:
- an active duty pay raise of 1.3%;
- $32 billion for the Defense Health Program;
- housing allowances for active personnel reflecting the 1% increase in out of pocket expense;
- $86 billion for veteran benefits;
- advance funding for all VA programs, and
- permanent health care coverage for 9/11 first-responders.
MOAA is especially appreciative it provides advance appropriations for veterans benefit programs. That means, beginning in FY 2016, veterans and their families won't see any break in their health care, disability compensation, survivor benefits, or GI Bill payments, even if congressional gridlock causes a federal shutdown.
Congress also passed a $622 billion package of business and individual tax provisions. The tax extender package includes extension of the expanded earned income tax credit, additional child credit and the American Opportunity tax credit for education expenses.
The President has expressed support for both bills, and it should be signed into law shortly.
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