House Passes NDAA
As NewsBytes goes to press the House is expected to pass its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA-H.R. 2500). The Senate passed its version of the NDAA (S.1790) this past June. A floor amendment that would extend concurrent receipt for retirees with Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments (CRDP) rated less than 50 percent disabled was not called for a vote. A similar amendment in the Senate was also not called for a vote. The House bill includes an FRA-supported provision to repeal the SBP/DIC offset known as the Widow's Tax.
Neither bill has a TRICARE fee increase. The Senate bill allows for the Administration's proposal for drastic cuts in military medical staff (down to 18,000 from the current 130,000). The House bill delays the proposed cuts to military medical staff until FY 2021 and requires a study to review the impact. FRA supports the House provision.
Another major difference between the House NDAA and the Senate NDAA is the top-line spending for the Department of Defense (DoD). The House bill provides for $733 billion and the Senate bill (S. 1790) provides $750 billion. It should be noted that neither spending level will occur unless Congress eliminates or raises the spending caps on sequestration. Other key provisions in the House bill include:
- Pay increase that keeps pace with civilian pay (3.1%);
- Continuing reforms of sexual assault and prevention;
- Increasing end strength for Navy and Marine Corps;
- Prohibiting the Marine Corps from segregating men and women in boot camp within five years;
- Requiring DoD to conduct a review policy and submit a report on suicide among members of the Armed Forces;
- Requiring the DoD to develop an assessment tool to measure health and safety hazards in DoD housing to include privatized housing;
- Mandating exposures to burn pits and blast events to be recorded in a service member's medical record; and
- •ncreasing maximum reimbursement amount from $500 to $1,000 for state licensure and certification of a military spouse due to relocation.
Now that both chambers have passed their version of the FY2020 Defense Authorization, a conference committee will be appointed to resolve the differences between the two bills. That bill will be submitted to the House and Senate for approval. If approved by both chambers the bill will go to the President to be signed into law or be vetoed.