June 19, 2015
Thursday, the Senate overwhelmingly passed its version of the FY16
defense bill, defying a veto threat from the administration. The 71-25
vote means the Senate has enough support to override the veto, should
The administration threatened to veto the defense bill
because it exceeds budget caps put in place by sequestration. The bill
attempts to circumvent the budget caps by funding base operations using
special war accounts. War accounts are not subject to sequestration.
a surprising move, lawmakers rejected the Senate Armed Services
Committee's recommendation to privatize commissaries. However, many of
remain in the final bill.
Although lawmakers submitted over 600 amendments, only a handful made it into the final bill.
significant amendments, which would have prevented further erosion to
pay and benefits, never saw the light of day. Left out were amendments
that would have granted a full active duty pay raise, blocked a five
percent reduction to housing allowances, prevented further cuts to
commissary benefits, and prohibited increased TRICARE pharmacy fees. We
thank the senators who introduced these amendments.
The following table shows where we currently are with the House and Senate-passed defense bills:
that both chambers have passed their respective versions of the defense
bill, House and Senate lawmakers will go to conference to iron out
differences. Leadership from the Armed Services Committees announced
that they hope to complete their work before the August recess.
conferencing begins, we will need your help. During this process, we'll
ask you to contact your legislators in support of the House version of
the defense bill.
We sincerely appreciate all of our members who
take the time to contact Congress. We need your effort and support to
remind Congress not to balance the budget on the backs of the military.