5 Defense Bill Issues to Watch

5 Defense Bill Issues to Watch
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dalton S. Swanbeck)

The Senate Armed Services Committee wrapped its annual defense authorization bill markup on May 22. The bill included a range of personnel and benefits issues. Here are five things on MOAA's radar:

1. Active duty pay raise: The Military Personnel Subcommittee supported the administration's request for a 3.1-percent pay increase. The proposal matches projected private-sector wage growth in 2019. The pay raise would be the largest in a decade.

TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Legislators to Protect Military Pay and Benefits

: The subcommittee was silent on any new health care fees for TRICARE beneficiaries. The bill remained silent on the administration’s proposal to eliminate up to 18,000 medical billet cuts, effectively providing tacit approval to the idea. Members of the House Appropriations Committee are skeptical of the proposal, and the issue will have to be resolved after the House Armed Services Committee begins work on its version of the defense bill later this month. We continue to engage both chambers throughout the bill’s evolution.

                        Do Not Dismantle Military Medicine

3. Housing: The bill includes a number of measure to address reports of substandard on-base housing as reported by MOAA earlier on.

TAKE ACTION: Ensure Safe Housing for Military Families

4. Military Survivors: The committee did not include language to eliminate the widows tax, the dollar-for-dollar deduction of DoD's Survivor Benefit Plan from the VA's Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. In April, MOAA members from across the country visited legislators on Capitol Hill to tell Congress to end the widows’ tax. MOAA is looking for lawmakers to file an amendment to repeal the offset.

TAKE ACTION: Act Now to End the Widows Tax

5. Concurrent Receipt: The draft text of the defense bill currently does not contain language to expand concurrent receipt. MOAA will continue to press lawmakers to file an amendment to include language to expand concurrent receipt.

TAKE ACTION: Support Full Concurrent Receipt For Disabled Miltiary Retirees 


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About the Author

James Naughton
James Naughton

James Naughton is a former Associate Director, Compensation and Legislation, for MOAA Government Relations.