May 1, 2015
members rejected recommendations to consolidate TRICARE, establish new
TRICARE for Life enrollment fees, and have working age retirees pay to
use military treatment facilities. DoD’s budget submission created the
first ever means-tested copay system based on military rank.
also opposed moves to further decrease housing allowances and
commissary funding. The administration’s request would slash $322
million from commissary funding.
House lawmakers kept the active
duty pay raise at 2.3 percent. The administration’s request capped
military pay below private sector wage growth for a third consecutive
year. The request called for continued pay caps for a total of seven
Your Grassroots Support Pays Off
Legislators took MOAA’s messaging to heart. In April, MOAA chapter and council leaders from across the country “stormed” Capitol Hill to
meet with nearly all 535 members of the House and Senate. Stormers
asked legislators to support a bipartisan debt-reduction package that
avoids disproportional penalties on servicemembers and their families.
Storming the Hill participants specifically focused on three issues:
- sustaining military pay and benefits;
- rejecting disproportional TRICARE fee hikes and plan changes; and
- eliminating harmful sequestration budget cuts.
listen when constituents have a compelling message,” said MOAA’s
Director of Government Relations Col. Mike Hayden, USAF (Ret).
“Fortunately for us, Congress recognizes that many of the proposals to
erode pay and benefits that have come out over the past couple of years
are too much for troops and families to face.”
House Mark Offers Improvements
HASC mark includes enhancements and oversight of how the military
handles sexual assault cases. It expands financial protections against
unscrupulous payday lenders, and rejects another round of base closures.
bill also includes MOAA-supported language to expand Space-Available
travel to dependents of deployed family members. A recommendation from
the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission
(MCRMC) called for extending privileges to Space-A travel to dependents
of family members deployed for longer than 120 days; the House bill
reduces the eligibility period to 30 days.
The HASC mark also
included the MCRMC recommendation to require a military child identifier
for military dependent students, in order to assess the unique needs of
military families. The recommendation requiring the DoD and VA
collaboration, by establishing a Joint Uniform Formulary was also
The full House is expected to take up the defense bill in May.