House Subcommittee Marks Up Defense Authorization
The House Armed Services’ Subcommittee on Military Personnel marked up its portion of the House version of the FY 2013 Defense Authorization bill this week. The subcommittee approved the measure (H.R. 4310), which does not include language to increase TRICARE fees or create a commission to study and proposed changes to the current military retirement benefit. Although the battle to stop drastic TRICARE fee increases and harsh retirement benefit cuts is not over, this is a clear indication that FRA shipmates’ voices are being heard on Capitol Hill.
The subcommittee approved provisions to:
- Authorize a military pay increase of 1.7 percent and extend bonuses and special pay for our men and women in uniform;
- Limit end strength reductions for the active Army and Marine Corps;
- Provide new regulations and procedures for combating and prosecuting sexual assault within the military;
- Extend access to family housing for six months and commissary/exchange benefits for two years for troops who are involuntarily separated;
- Extend TRICARE benefits to members of the Selected Reserves who are involuntarily separated;
- Clarify that non-monetary contribution to healthcare benefits made by service members and their families through a 20-or-more-year career of military service represents pre-payment of healthcare premiums in retirement.
The bill is scheduled to be marked up and approved by the full House Armed Services Committee on May 9, 2012. The Senate Armed Services Committee Personnel Subcommittee will begin markup of the Senate’s version of the bill next month. Once both chambers approve their version of the Defense Authorization, a conference committee will be appointed to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills. The final bill is then sent to the House and the Senate for approval, after which, it will be sent onto the President for his approval or veto.
Members are urged to use the FRA Action Center to share their views with lawmakers on these and other issues that impact their earned benefits.