President Trump Approves Pay Raise For Troops, No TRICARE Fee Increases
President Donald Trump on Monday afternoon approved H.R. 515, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. The President signed the legislation in front of huge crowd at Fort Drum, N.Y.
"There is no better place than right here at Fort Drum to celebrate its passage. No better place," Trump told the cheering crowd, which included many uniformed service members. "After years of devastating cuts, we're now rebuilding our military like we never have before. Ever. Because we know that to survive, and having that survival of our freedom, it depends upon the might of our military."
The last time Congress passed a defense bill this early was over 20 years ago with the FY 1997 NDAA.
"The NDAA is a great example of bi-partisan support for our military," said MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, (USAF Ret.). "Our Congress, and president, by signing this bill into law, recognize the selfless service of those in uniform by providing a proper pay raise and housing allowances. They also recognize the need to increase troop strength to support Secretary Mattis' National Defense Strategy."
The legislation includes a 2.6 percent increase in basic pay for troops, which President Trump described as "the biggest increase in a decade."
President Trump also highlighted "$11 billion for military construction, including family housing."
"Every day the military is fighting for us, and now we are fighingt for you, 100 percent," Trump told the troops.
Other highlights of the FY2019 NDAA include:
Authorization for active duty end-strength increases over FY 2018 levels for each service to put them better in line to meet the requirements of the National Defense Strategy (485,741 in the Army, 331,900 in the Navy, 186,100 in the Marine Corps, and 325,720 in the Air Force).
No increases to TRICARE fees.
No reduction to the basic allowance for housing.
Progress on modernizing the 38-year-old Defense Officer Personnel Management Act to provide more flexible options to the services.
Authorization for $40 million in DoD supplemental impact aid and $10 million in impact aid for severely disabled military children.
Eligibility expansion for Special Victims' Counsel services to victims of domestic violence and other aggravated violent offenses.
Establishment of a new punitive article on domestic violence in the Uniform Code of Military Justice; and
authorization for military judges and magistrates to issue military protective orders.