House members junk Obama military cost-of-living cuts

 

Lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee are rejecting the Obama administration’s proposal to cut benefits for military families.

The proposal, including in the 2015 Defense Department budget, wasn’t included in legislation introduced on Tuesday by the House Armed Services subcommittee on Military Personnel.

ADVERTISEMENT
The administration’s proposal, which sought to reduce military costs, would have reduced benefits by increasing some fees under TRICARE, the health plan for military families. It also reduced housing allowances and cut subsidies for military commissaries.

Instead of actual cuts, the subcommittee calls for outside experts to review the military’s commissary program to spot inefficiencies that might lead to savings without impacting military members or their families.

The proposal includes no cuts to TRICARE or housing allowances.

The legislation also incorporates military sexual assault reforms introduced earlier this year by Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) and Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.). That measure, dubbed the FAIR Military Act, largely mirrors legislation sponsored by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) that the Senate passed 97-0. The bill includes reforms such as requiring performance appraisals of military officers to include their support of sexual assault prevention policies.

The panel’s legislation also calls for the Government Accountability Office to examine all of the Pentagon’s ethics programs.

In addition, the measure asks the Pentagon for reporting on the suicide rates of active and reserve military members and a special review of prevention measures aimed at those who serve in Special Operations forces.