May 27, 2016
The Senate Armed Services Committee sent its version of the defense bill to the full Senate for consideration. In just a few days, hundreds of amendments have been introduced.
The following provides a summary of some of the amendments regarding pay and benefits:
- Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) submitted separate amendments authorizing a 2.1 percent pay raise for active duty personnel. Currently, the Senate's version of the defense bill calls for only a 1.6 percent pay raise, half a percentage point below private sector wage growth.
- Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) offered amendments eliminating proposed reductions in housing allowances.
- Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered a series of amendments on concurrent receipt. The amendments all extend concurrent receipt to disabled retirees and provide lawmakers several options for how to help thousands of retirees suffering from the deduction of military retired pay from VA disability compensation.
- Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla) filed an amendment protecting commissaries. His amendment would prevent attempts to privatize commissaries until a congressionally-mandated study is completed.
- Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced an amendment requiring a study on how the Department of Veterans Affairs and DoD can align their pharmacy prescription buying programs to increase their purchasing power and to lower costs.
- Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) filed an amendment ensuring that beneficiaries who lose services through changes to MTF health care programs are able to receive the same care through the purchased care network of the TRICARE program.
- Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) championed an amendment allowing reimbursement of up to $500 for military spouse costs associated with re-licensure and re-certification after PCS to a new state.
The full Senate will consider the amendments when it returns from the Memorial Day break.
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