FRA Statement to House Personnel Panel
FRA shared its top legislative priorities this week with members of the House Armed Services’ Military Personnel Subcommittee, citing shipmates’ concerns about reductions in healthcare and other quality-of-life benefits earned through honorable military service. The March 6th subcommittee hearing focused on personnel issues and programs addressed in the proposed FY 2013 budget.
National Executive Director Joe Barnes cited concerns about proposals to substantially cut the Department of Defense’s (DoD) budget for FY 2013 and beyond – reductions that would significantly affect military pay and benefits and be viewed as “devaluing” military service.
“DoD has already identified more than $450 billion in budget cuts over the next 10 years and, unless Congress acts, provisions of the Budget Control Act mandate another $500 billion to $600 billion in sequestration cuts beginning in 2013,” said Barnes. “These reductions could endanger not only national security, but also essential military pay and benefit programs.
Among the budget-reduction tools on the table are significant increases to healthcare costs for beneficiaries of the military’s TRICARE healthcare program. Plans to drastically increase existing enrollment fees, implement new ones and increase pharmacy co-pays are causing grave concern among FRA members. “These increases are in addition to the 13-percent increase in TRICARE Prime fees for military retirees imposed for this year and future increases that are tied to healthcare inflation,” said Barnes, who asked the panel to honor commitments made to those who served in the past, as well as those who are currently serving. To oppose drastic TRICARE fee increases, visit the FRA Action Center.
In its statement, FRA also stressed other important issues, including opposition to a BRAC-type commission to revamp military retirement, the need for USFSPA Reform, ensuring all Reservists receive retirement credit for service after September 11, 2001; and that all disabled military retirees concurrently receive their earned retired pay and veterans’ disability compensation without offset. Visit www.fra.org/testimony to view the full statement.
FRA strongly supports
legislative efforts in both chambers [H.R. 3662 and S. 2065] that would
exclude DoD from the first year of sequestration.” Visit