May 20, 2016
On May 18, the full House of Representatives passed its version of the annual defense authorization bill (H.R. 4909) by a vote of 277-147, authorizing $602 billion in defense spending for FY 2017.
The House bill includes force increases for all services, protects currently serving and retired personnel from most TRICARE fee increases, extends the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance for one year, and authorizes a 2.1 percent pay raise.
But final passage took the House two days to wade through 181 proposed amendments. Some of those adopted in the final bill:
- deleted a provision requiring women to register for the draft, and required a study of selective service registration requirements instead;
- allow both servicemembers of a dual-military couple to split 36 days of parental leave according to family needs when they adopt a child;
- restore TRICARE coverage for children with autism to the rates that existed before DoD reduced them on April 1;
- establish an electronic tour calculator Selected Reserve members can use to track aggregated early retirement credit earned over the course of multiple call-ups;
- eliminate the two-year limit on continued noncompetitive appointment of military spouses to civil service positions when they accompany their sponsor on service-directed moves; and
- require a DoD report to Congress on survivor income losses due to deduction of VA survivor benefits from Survivor Benefit Plan annuities.
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