House Passes Defense Authorization Bill
The House passed its version of the Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 4310) today. The cost of the approved provisions exceeds spending limits set by law, which has prompted the Administration to threaten a veto of the measure.
The House version of the bill denies the drastic TRICARE fee increases requested by the Administration, which is good news for many military retirees. Thebill does authorize higher pharmacy co-pays, but at levels below hikes requested by DoD and with provisions to limit future pharmacy co-pays to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). (DoD has the authority to increase co-pays without congressional approval.)
In addition to the provisions passed by the House Armed Services Committee and referenced in last week’s edition of NewsBytes – available at http://www.fra.org/AM/template.cfm?template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=13676§ion=news – the House-approved version also includes language that prohibits the establishment of a commission that would propose changes to the military retirement benefit.
The fight to limit
TRICARE and pharmacy costs and protect military retirement benefits now
moves to the Senate, where the Senate Armed Services Committee and its
subcommittees are expected to mark up their version of the bill next
week. Shipmates are urged to use the
Once both chambers pass their respective versions of the bill, a conference committee will be appointed to resolve differences. The final bill (conference report) must be approved by both chambers before it is sent to the President for his signature or veto.