Thursday, December 4, 2014

Congressional Grinch Cuts Pay and Benefits For Troops

House passes defense bill with benefit cuts, money for Obama war strategy
Stars and Stripes
By Travis J. Tritten
December 4, 2014
WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday passed a defense budget that cuts troop benefits and clears the way for the Obama administration to continue its war strategy against the Islamic State, despite bipartisan outcry over a lack of debate.
The last-minute budget compromise reduces military pay raises, housing allowances, prescription medicine coverage, and commissary funding next year, while providing $63.7 billion for overseas wars and permission for continued arming and training of Syrian rebel groups.

The Senate is expected to vote next week on the massive 2015 budget bill, which was cobbled together during weeks of closed-door negotiations after the Senate failed to pass its version of a defense budget.

The military “is going to have to live with a dramatically smaller amount of money than they thought they would have,” said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

He said the cuts do not go far enough and more are likely in the coming years.

The military is faced with a shrinking budget as sequestration forces caps on spending. Top brass came to Capitol Hill earlier this year lobbying for a wide range of cuts to personnel and equipment, warning that their ability to fight wars depends on reining in the ballooning expenses.
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