President Barack Obama has signed the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which authorizes funds for basic military operations. The law authorizes a 1 percent increase in military pay, 523.1 billion in spending, a 1 percent reduction in Basic Allowance for Housing and also authorizes 5 billion for the current fight in Syria.
Once again, President Obama failed to shut down Guantanamo Bay which he has pledged to do since 2008. During an interview with CNN he declared “I’m going to do everything to close it”. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio highlighted the issue by saying “House Republicans will continue to do all we can to protect our national security and support our men and women in uniform, and look forward to working with the president to do the same.”
This years defense spending bill is a compromise from what the Pentagon and President Obama sought in cuts and what the House Republicans and military and veteran groups had lobbied against. Including a 5% Basic Allowance for Housing cuts instead of the compromised 1% and deeper Tricare cuts than were ultimately agreed.
Highlights of the Defense Spending Bill
- 1% military pay increase. Generally, annual increase are tied to civilian wage growth which is 1.8% this year. See the Proposed Military Pay Charts.
- Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) will be reduced by 1%. Veterans receiving the Post-9/11 GI Bill® will be exempt.
- Increased Tricare Pharmacy Co-Pays – Most Prescription co-pays will be increased by $3. Mail-order generic drugs are not increased
- The A-10 warthog is prohibited from being retired
- $521.3 billion defense bill budget package
- $63.7 billion more in overseas contingency funds
- $5 billion for the current fight in Iraq and Syria
- Bans transferring terror suspects from Guantanamo Bay detention center
- The 1% retirement pay reduction (COLA-minus one plan) for future service members was delayed at least one more year, Jan. 1, 2016
- Changes to the military justice system in how sexual assault cases are handled
- Fort Hood, Texas attack victims in 2009 are eligible to receive the Purple Heart
Jan. 1st, 2015