Senate stops military from cutting tuition assistance

Lawmakers reacted angrily to the services’ decision to cut funding for tuition assistance, which Pentagon officials said was a difficult but necessary choice because of the across-the-board budget cuts under sequestration.

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But the amendment’s fate was in doubt earlier this week when Democratic and Republican Senate leaders could not agree on a deal to consider amendments. When Senate leaders reached an agreement Wednesday, the tuition assistance amendment was one of 10 the Senate considered before it expects to pass the bill Wednesday afternoon.

Another amendment from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would have cut money from the military’s biofuels program was defeated in a 40-59 vote.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) had hoped to have her amendment considered to cut $380 million for funding the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), but it was not included in the final amendments that received votes.

Despite the Senate’s move to reverse the tuition assistance cuts, the Pentagon is still happy overall that the CR is passing, because it includes a Defense appropriations bill. That will allow the Pentagon to move roughly $10 billion into its operations and maintenance accounts that were facing shortfalls.