[Rushtalk] Obama threatens veto of Defense bill if Troops don't get a pay cut & pay more for insurance

Carl Spitzer cwsiv at keepandbeararms.com
Wed Aug 21 08:51:27 MDT 2013




Obama Threatens Veto of Defense Spending Bill if TRICARE Costs Are Not
Increased

White House also angling for smaller pay raises for troops

AP

                                   AP

      

BY: Adam Kredo 
July 23, 2013 1:00 pm

The White House has threatened to veto a key Pentagon spending bill
unless lawmakers increase the amount of money U.S. troops pay for
healthcare and decrease pay raises for troops, among several other
things.

The Department of Defense Appropriations Act does not increase the fees
associated with TRICARE, the Pentagon’s in-house health system, the
White House said Monday evening in a statement that threatened to veto
the spending bill over this and other issues.

“The administration strongly urges the Congress to support its proposed
TRICARE fee increases,” the statement said.

The administration’s threat to veto the spending bill drew sharp
criticism from some on Capitol Hill.

“For years, the Obama administration has swollen the federal workforce
and asked the military to pay for it,” one Republican congressional aide
told theWashington Free Beacon. “The president is forcing nearly 200,000
troops out of uniform” as a result of deep defense budget cuts known as
sequestration.

“Now he’s cutting the pay of those lucky enough to survive,” the aide
said. “After three huge cuts to the military in four years, it’s time
the Obama administration look elsewhere for savings.”

“Perhaps they can start with the IRS,” the aide said.

The spending bill would authorize the Pentagon’s 2014 budget, meaning
that a White House veto could stall and even jeopardize critical Defense
Department operations.

Congress has long opposed the fee increases and has gone out of its way
to restore savings that would lower costs for those enrolled in the
healthcare program.

A failure to increase TRICARE fees and co-payments, as well as to cut
other military programs, “could result in hundreds of thousands of
low-income children losing access to Head Start programs, tens of
thousands of children with disabilities losing Federal funding for their
special education teachers and aides,” the White House said.

At the same time, it is demanding Congress increase TRICARE costs. The
White House is also pressuring lawmakers to nix a proposed $580 million
pay raise for the troops that it says goes above and beyond its initial
request.

The White House statement criticized Congress for not adhering to its
strict guidelines regarding troop pay raises.

“The bill provides $580 million in additional appropriations to fund the
pay raise in [fiscal year] 2014, but it would increase costs by a total
of $3.5 billion from FY 2014 through FY 2018,” the White House argued.

The White House prefers a “1.0 percent increase to basic pay, a 4.2
percent increase in the basic allowance for housing, and a 3.4 percent
increase in basic allowance for subsistence.”

The White House’s call to increase TRICARE’s costs comes as nearly $1
trillion in defense cuts bears down on a military still recovering from
the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sequestration has already grounded warplanes, impacted troop readiness,
and created a general unease among the nation’s fighting forces, critics
say.

Another $52 billion could be slashed from the defense budget come
October if lawmakers fail to agree on a budget compromise.

TRICARE cost increases and pay raises are not the White House’s only
complaints with the current spending bill.

The president also objects to a provision of the bill that would
prohibit the transfer of terrorists from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

The bill would currently prohibit the Obama administration from using
taxpayer money to transfer Gitmo prisoners to the United States or other
locations.

“The continued prosecution of terrorists in federal court is an
essential element of counterterrorism efforts—a powerful tool that must
remain an available option,” the White House said.

The administration argued that it reserves the right to prosecute these
terrorists in any manner the president sees fit, which includes
transferring these inmates to America or shipping them to foreign host
nations.

“The administration strongly opposes” an additional provision of the
bill that “would prohibit the use of funds to construct, acquire, or
modify a detention facility in the United States to house individuals
held in the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay,” the White House said.

 




 
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