If lawmakers follow their own schedule, the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) should become law within three weeks, offering a legislative vehicle for many of MOAA’s priorities which have reached the late stages of the NDAA assembly process.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) made passing the NDAA by the close of 2023 part of his to-do list shortly after taking the speaker’s gavel. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told fellow senators in a Nov. 26 letter that the chamber would finish its work on the bill before the end of its current work period, which ends Dec. 15 (the House is scheduled to wrap up the day before).
Barring any extensions or exceptions, this points to a three-week period, at most, for negotiations between members of a joint House-Senate conference committee which will work out the differences between the chambers’ NDAA versions. MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, USAF (Ret), outlined MOAA’s priorities for this must-pass bill in an August letter to legislators. Highlights include:
- Protecting Your TRICARE Benefit: MOAA supports a House provision (Section 765) which would require a detailed Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on access to the TRICARE pharmacy benefit – a report necessitated by significant cuts to the retail pharmacy network.
- Restoring the Military Housing Benefit: MOAA supports House NDAA language increasing the Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) to 96% of local rental and utilities costs, up from the current 95%. This would be a meaningful step toward restoring the full 100% benefit, a position championed by MOAA in this year’s Advocacy in Action campaign.
- Boosting Servicemember Compensation: Along with a 5.2% pay raise to keep pace with the private sector, MOAA supports language in the House bill reforming the military pay table, which would result in higher pay for younger members and help combat ongoing recruiting challenges.
- Preserving Earned Burial Benefits: As Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) nears capacity, MOAA supports language in the House bill requiring a report on potential locations of the “next ANC,” which would eliminate the need for new eligibility rules at the current location and protect this earned benefit for generations of retirees. (Learn More | Take Action)
- Strengthening DoD Hiring Power: MOAA supports a House NDAA provision eliminating the so-called “180-day rule,” which would allow DoD to tap into a talented pool of military retirees immediately to meet its staffing requirements. (Learn More | Take Action).
Read the full letter for more about MOAA’s NDAA priorities, and keep up with the latest NDAA news and other MOAA advocacy priorities by subscribing to MOAA’s weekly newsletter, visiting our Advocacy News page, and registering for our Legislative Action Center.
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