House Armed Services Committee Approves FY14 Defense Bill
The House Armed Services Committee passed The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14 NDAA) by a vote of 59-2 on June 6, 2013. Click here to read a summary of the bill. The FY14 NDAA is expected to be considered by the full House next week.
The bill’s language supports current law, which mandates an automatic 1.8% annual increase in troop pay and rejects most Administration proposals to increase some TRICARE fees or establish new TRICARE fees. It does include a provision to authorize a one-time opt-in to TRICARE Prime for beneficiaries who are eligible for TRICARE Prime but are affected by the elimination of some TRICARE Prime Service Areas.
Also included are reforms to limit the commander’s role in adjudicating sexual assaults cases, establishment of minimum sentencing guidelines, and authorizations for a change of station or unit transfer for the victim.
Our Association was pleased the bill contained provisions addressing supplemental funding for school districts highly impacted by large populations of military students and expanded Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protections for service members and survivors who are trying to refinance their mortgages.
Our Association appreciated the inclusion of a request for a report on suicides or attempts at suicide by military family members. We consider this report essential as our country evaluates the long-term effects of over 12 years of war on military families. We are concerned that military and veteran families were not previously included when examining suicides. We have no data showing whether families are also experiencing a rise in suicides and outpacing their civilian counterparts. Therefore, we recommended Congress require a report on the number of family members who committed suicide, made a suicide attempt, or reported suicidal thoughts.
We are concerned that the HASC FY14 NDAA does not eliminate the threat of another year of sequester cuts to military spending, nor does the President’s budget and the House and Senate passed budgets for FY14. If the sequester cuts to military spending are not repealed, military families will be asked to endure yet another round of damaging cuts to vital readiness and support programs. Our plea to Congress remains: end sequestration now!
We will share an overview of the provisions impacting military families next week in Military Family Topics.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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