5 Things to Keep an Eye on During Defense Bill Debate

5 Things to Keep an Eye on During Defense Bill Debate

(Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Patrick T. Bauer/Navy)

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) wrapped its annual defense authorization bill markup in the early hours of May 10, a hearing that included a range of personnel and benefits issues. Here are five things on MOAA's radar:

  1. Active duty pay raise: In late April, the HASC Military Personnel Subcommittee supported the administration's request for a 2.6-percent pay increase. The proposal matches projected private-sector wage growth in 2019. The pay raise would be the largest increase since 2010.

  2. TRICARE: The subcommittee was silent on any new health care fees for TRICARE beneficiaries. It did, however, include a provision prohibiting DoD from closing or limiting services in any military treatment facility as it transfers administration to the Defense Health Agency from the respective service secretary.

  3. Housing Allowances: Subcommittee members blocked scheduled cuts to housing allowances (BAH). The subcommittee also included language citing concerns about the impact of BAH cuts to military housing. For troops and families stationed on base, cuts to BAH could result in cuts to services such as trash pickup or delays in responding to emergency work orders.

  4. Military Survivors: Servicemembers enrolled at less than full coverage in Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) will be covered automatically at the full $400,000 benefit. Because servicemembers get reimbursed for their SGLI premiums when deployed to a combat zone, the change comes at no cost to servicemembers. The subcommittee did not include language to eliminate the widows tax, the dollar-for-dollar deduction of DoD's Survivor Benefit Plan from the VA's Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. MOAA is looking for lawmakers to file an amendment to eliminate the widows tax.

  5. Concurrent Receipt: The draft text of the defense bill currently does not contain language to expand concurrent receipt. In April, MOAA members from across the country visited legislators on Capitol Hill to tell Congress to end the deduction of service-earned retirement pay from VA disability compensation. MOAA is looking for lawmakers to file an amendment to include language to expand concurrent receipt.

Watch the hearing on HASC's YouTube page. This story will be updated with more hearing analysis. 

 

 

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