Defense Cuts Delayed, Doc Fix Extended, NDAA Signed into Law
In the last action of the 112th Congress, the House and Senate approved legislation that delays the automatic budget cuts (sequestration) for two months per the 2011 Budget Control Act. The cuts were slated to take effect on January 1, 2013, and would include significant reductions in Defense spending. The legislation also delays a 27-percent cut in Medicare/TRICARE reimbursements for physicians (the so-called “doc fix”) for one year, increases FICA (Social Security) payroll tax, raises income tax rates for those at higher earning levels, and extends unemployment benefits.
President Obama signed the bill into law, forestalling the government funding “crisis” until late February or early March when sequestration is now scheduled to be implemented. In addition, the Continuing Resolution (CR) that extends funding for current government operations expires and the nation’s debt ceiling will need to be increased.
FRA is monitoring these issues closely and continues to advocate that benefits for military retirees, veterans, active duty and Reserve personnel, their families and survivors should not be compromised as part of any budget deal.
In related news, the President also signed the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA – H. R. 4310). The final NDAA provisions, as determined by House and Senate conferees, were published in the 12/21/12 Newsbytes.