Panel ditches military compensation reforms

 

Senate lawmakers on Wednesday rejected a set of cost-cutting measures proposed by the Pentagon to rein in troop benefits.

In its version of the 2015 defense authorization bill, the Senate Armed Services personnel subcommittee discarded the administration’s plans to consolidate TRICARE, the healthcare plan for military families, require service members to kick in more for the housing and slash millions in commissary subsidies.

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The subpanel’s chairwoman, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), said she opposed the ideas because they preempt the findings of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, which is scheduled to report out its recommendations next February.

However, the committee did back the Defense Department’s request for a lower pay raise for troops and to freeze wages for general and flag officers.

The $166.8 billion legislation also includes provisions on sexual assault, including parts of the Victims Protection Act introduced by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

In addition, the proposed bill requires the Government Accountability Office to report on sexual assault prevention activities by Department of Defense and the military branches.

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