3-29-13

House and Senate Pass Budget Plans

For the first time in four years, the House and Senate each passed competing 10-year spending plans last week. The Senate considered fewer than 40 of the 573 amendments filed, including one of particular interest to FRA shipmates.  The Senate approved an amendment, sponsored by Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders (Vt.), that prohibits applying the less-generous chained CPI formula when calculating cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) on veterans’ benefits.

The Senate did not consider another FRA-supported amendment, sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), that sought to limit increases in TRICARE premiums, enrollment fees and pharmacy co-pays to the annual percentage increase in military retired pay.   

The budget resolutions serve as a blueprint for the annual appropriations process and, despite action in both bodies to establish a budget for next year, the Administration’s FY 2014 budget request is not scheduled to be submitted to Congress until April 8, 2013.