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Pale Rider
05-22-2007, 05:57 AM
White House Fights Bill to Boost Benefits


Week of May 21, 2007

As the House of Representatives prepared to pass its fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill, the White House urged lawmakers to reconsider a host of costly personnel initiatives added by the armed services committee.

Initiatives opposed by the White House included:
Bigger Pay Raises
Higher TRICARE Fees
TRICARE Retail Drugs "Fair Pricing"
CRSC Expansion
Survivor Indemnity Allowance
Reserve GI Bill

The House passed the $646 billion defense bill Thursday that supports the Pentagon's ambitious weapons acquisition program but would place new restrictions on foreign-made technology the military could buy.

The legislation, approved 397-27, has drawn a veto threat from the White House because of its "Buy American" provisions. The measure covers defense spending for the budget year that begins Oct. 1.

How do you feel about this action? Let your public officials know how you feel!

http://www.military.com/veterans-report/white-house-fights-proposed-pay-raise?ESRC=vr.nl

5stringJeff
05-22-2007, 10:14 AM
Initiatives opposed by the White House included:
Bigger Pay Raises
Higher TRICARE Fees
TRICARE Retail Drugs "Fair Pricing"
CRSC Expansion
Survivor Indemnity Allowance
Reserve GI Bill

The legislation, approved 397-27, has drawn a veto threat from the White House because of its "Buy American" provisions. The measure covers defense spending for the budget year that begins Oct. 1.

I haven't read the bill, but here's how I feel about it:

Bigger Pay Raises: Every year, the military get a 3-4% pay raise. That more than covers inflation. There's always an argument about whether the troops get a 3% or a 4% pay raise. Either way, it's a fairly significant one. And, don't forget, all troops get longevity raises.

Higher TRICARE Fees: Bush opposes higher TRICARE fees? Shouldn't vets be happy about this? Frankly, though, higher fees would help to keep long-term costs down, because people wouldn't insist on getting treatments they don't necessarily need. For example, if your co-pay for an MRI is only $10, then heck, you could get an MRI twice a week! But if the copay for an MRI is, say, $50, then you'll think twice about going ahead with one.

TRICARE Retail Drugs "Fair Pricing": I believe this refers to subsidizing drug purchases. Frankly, I don't think the government should subsidize any drug purchases. They ought to stay out of the drug industry altogether - and that includes allowing people to buy cheaper drugs from Canada.

CRSC Expansion: dunno what this is.

Survivor Indemnity Allowance: dunno what this is.

Reserve GI Bill: not sure what this refers to either.

darin
05-22-2007, 10:33 AM
More info:




CRSC Expansion: dunno what this is.

Survivor Indemnity Allowance: dunno what this is.

Reserve GI Bill: not sure what this refers to either.


Bigger Pay Raises – The House was set to vote for a 3.5 percent basic pay increase for January 2008. That’s .5 percent higher than proposed by the Bush administration. The bill also would continue a string of annual raises set .5 percent higher than private sector wage growth through at least 2012.

A 3 percent raise next January would be enough to keep military pay competitive, said the White House’s Office of Management and Budget in a “Statement of Administration Policy” on the bill, HR 1585, released May 16.

The “unnecessary” half-percentage point bump would cost taxpayers $265 million in 2008 and $7.3 billion over six years, budget officials complained.

“When combined with the overall military benefit package, the President’s proposal provides a good quality of life for service members and their families,” said the OMB letter to committee leaders.

Both House Republicans and Democrats disagreed. Rep. Thelma Drake, a Virginia Republican, offered the amendment, adopted by the armed services committees, to stretch the string of bigger raises out to 2012.

The Senate Armed Services Committee will mark up its version of the defense authorization bill next week. That committee is said to be more supportive of the administration’s view that military pay is competitive now and will stay competitive with a 3 percent raise next January.

Higher TRICARE Fees – The White House is disappointed that the House bill does not allow Defense officials to raise TRICARE fees and co- payments for retired military beneficiaries under 65 or allow implementation of some new set of cost containment actions expected to be recommended soon by the DoD-appointed Task Force on the Future of Military Health Care.

The administration says fee increases are needed to sustain a high-quality health care benefit “by largely capturing the inflation increases that have occurred since cost sharing was first established in 1996.” Blocking any such initiatives this year will add $1.86 billion to military health costs in 2008 and more than $19 billion through 2013.

The House bill also would restore $200 million in health care spending that Defense officials sought to remove through unspecified “efficiency wedges” imposed on service medical budgets.

TRICARE Retail Drugs “Fair Pricing” – The administration “strongly opposes” a provision in the House bill to require drug manufacturers to give the Defense Department the same price discounts on drugs dispensed through the TRICARE retail network that they provide to base pharmacies, the TRICARE mail order pharmacy and VA clinics and hospitals.

The White House says “market competition,” not government price control, “is the most effective way to promote discounts.” Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) reiterated that argument on the House floor. He said price-setting in TRICARE retail pharmacies will eliminate retail competition and, in time, endanger drug discounts for veterans using VA health care.

At Buyer’s urging, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the armed services committee, agreed to support a study of the impact of the fair pricing initiative on veterans and other beneficiaries.

CRSC Expansion -- The House bill would open the Combat-Related Special Compensation program to some disabled retirees forced from service short of normal retirement because of service-connected injuries or ailments.

CRSC for the first time would be paid “Chapter 61” retirees if they served at least 15 years, were forced from service by combat-related injuries and have disability ratings from the VA of 60 percent or higher. Their CRSC payments would begin Oct. 1, 2008, if the measure clears the full Congress.

Those eligible would continue to receive their VA disability compensation plus a monthly CRSC amount based on years served. For example, an eligible retiree who left with 17 years would receive monthly CRSC equal to 2.5 percent of basic pay multiplied by 17.

The administration “strongly opposes” such this and other “piecemeal changes” to retiree disability compensation given that “several commissions and review groups are reconsidering the country’s responsibilities to those medically separated prior to completing a full military career.”

Survivor Indemnity Allowance – The House bill would establish a new survivor indemnity allowance of up to $40 a month for surviving spouses who see their survivor benefits fall as a result of the SBP-DIC offset law. The White House opposes this first step toward eliminating the offset altogether.

The offset currently reduces Survivor Benefits Plan (SBP) payments by the amount widows or widowers receive in Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

But this offset, says the White House, “is consistent with private sector benefits” and should not be phased out. The House change, it says, would cost $27 million the first year and $160 million through fiscal 2013. The allowance would begin Oct. 1, 2008, if it clears the full Congress.

Reserve GI BILL – The administration also opposes a provision that would transfer oversight for the Reserve Montgomery GI Bill from the Department of Defense to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Proponents say it’s a first step toward raising reserve GI bill benefits and increasing them in future years in concert with VA-provided active duty GI Bill benefits.

The White House says the change would mean DoD loses control of a critical incentive program for reserve recruiting and retention.

http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,136106,00.html

Psychoblues
05-24-2007, 12:24 AM
Clearly, you jerks don't dnow shit about soldiers, veterans, families or the American way of life. Even in these right wing screeds as demonstrated on this board you are completely out of touch with the real America.

5stringJeff
05-24-2007, 12:06 PM
Clearly, you jerks don't dnow shit about soldiers, veterans, families or the American way of life. Even in these right wing screeds as demonstrated on this board you are completely out of touch with the real America.

Considering I work with soldiers on a daily basis, I'm pretty sure I'm more in touch with them than you.

Pale Rider
05-24-2007, 03:20 PM
Clearly, you jerks don't dnow shit about soldiers, veterans, families or the American way of life. Even in these right wing screeds as demonstrated on this board you are completely out of touch with the real America.

And considering I spent eight years active duty in the Air Force, I'd say you're full of shit.... as usual.

So please tell us about your military service, that qualifies you to judge us veterans comments on military affairs.

LiberalNation
05-24-2007, 03:21 PM
I can bet one thing, the troops wouldn't mind more benifits or raises. No one in their right mind would.