DEFENSE BILL BRINGS RAISE, SUSTAINS BENEFIT FOR LOCAL MILITARY

DEFENSE BILL BRINGS RAISE, SUSTAINS BENEFIT FOR LOCAL MILITARY

Approval of the defense authorization act last night will bring a minimal 1 percent raise to our Marines and sailors starting January 1. The bill extends a number of expiring special pays and bonuses that would otherwise have ended on New Year’s Day and also includes rules against any fee increases for Tricare or new user fees for the military health program by more than 1.7 percent next October. Among the $632.8 billion bill’s provisions is a restriction on transferring to the U.S. anyone held as a suspected terrorist at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and allowances for detainees to be transferred to foreign countries. The bill includes provisions related to sexual assault in the military, and protecting victims of rape and sexual assault, including a specific criminal charge in the military justice system for retaliating against a victim who comes forward. The bill will give 171,000 military retirees and family members forced from Tricare Prime on October 1 the option to return to the program. It also changes eligibility rules for selective early retirement boards so that officers passed over just one time for promotion would be considered by selection boards for involuntary retirement. While the bill contains no military pay raise, it enacts a presidential order giving troops a 1 percent raise. The bill, H.R. 3304, provides $552.1 billion for the military budget and $80.7 billion for overseas contingency operations.

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