Pay, Retirement, Pharmacy Changes Moving

November 6, 2015

On Thursday, the House passed a new FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Armed Services Committee leaders amended the defense bill after the president vetoed the original version over budget and other issues.

This is the bill that includes reduced housing allowances and pay raises for the troops, a reduced retirement system for new service entrants starting in 2018, and $2 to $4 increases for most prescription copays next year (the copay for mail-order generic drugs will stay at zero).

Congress and the White House resolved their fiscal differences in the budget deal signed into law this past Monday. But the budget agreement cut $5B from the FY16 defense budget. 

In deciding what to cut in order to trim $5B, lawmakers spared personnel and benefit programs. Over $1B in savings came from reduced fuel prices, $250M from Army readiness, $192M from Army National Guard readiness, $230M from the Long Range Strike Bomber, and another $125M from the program to train and equip Syrian rebels. 

"So what we have before us now is the same bill…with funding adjustments to reflect the [budget] bill we passed last week," said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Thornberry. "Otherwise, it's the same bill."

The bill now goes to the Senate, where it’s expected to pass promptly.

Although there is some grumbling from the White House regarding its provisions on the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, most expect the president will sign it into law.

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