Friday, July 25, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

House panel rejects proposed benefit curbs

By
From page B10 | May 04, 2014 |

The House armed services’ subcommittee on military personnel has rejected Pentagon plans to: trim increases in military housing allowances starting next year; raise Tricare fees on families and retirees; and narrow health coverage by ending Tricare Prime, the managed care option.

But in shaping personnel sections of the fiscal year 2015 defense authorization bill, HR 4435, the subcommittee didn’t block a planned military pay cap for January 2015. President Barack Obama’s administration wants it set at 1 percent versus 1.8 percent needed to match private sector wage growth.

Also, subcommittee chair Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., hinted that the Defense Commissary Agency’s budget would be squeezed, and presumably so would shopper savings, if base grocery stores can’t run more efficiently.

The bill would require the secretary of defense to conduct a new review of commissaries, in this case relying on “the services of an independent organization experienced in grocery retail analysis.”

Such a review, Wilson said, might help to “reverse some of the cuts” in the commissary system budget. Wilson didn’t say how deep the cuts would be. Committee staff said those type of details would not be released until the full committee amends and votes out the full defense bill Tuesday.

The administration has proposed cutting $1 billion a year from the Defense Commissary Agency’s $1.4 billion appropriation by 2017. The cut would be phased over three years, starting with $200 million in fiscal year 2015.

If the subcommittee decided to block only half of the proposed cut for next year, as one unconfirmed AP report suggested, commissaries would face a hit of $100 million or 7 percent.

Wilson and Rep. Susan Davis of California, ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, needed only minutes to complete an open “mark” of the bill’s personnel provisions. With defense budgets squeezed by the 2011 Budget Control Act, the number of personnel initiatives is modest.

The subcommittee accepted proposed active-duty force cuts totaling 52,800 by October 2015. That includes a 30,000 cut in Army strength to reach 499,000; a 16,700 cut to Air Force, down to 310,900 and a 6,100 cut in Marines to 184,100. Navy strength would be unchanged at 323,600.

Studies often serve to delay decisions and there are plenty ordered up by the House panel in this wartime election year. One is to be an anonymous survey of random service members on pays and benefits to determine preferred forms of compensation.

Other language directs more frequent reviews and analyses from the U.S. Comptroller General to determine the adequacy of the number of health care providers who accept Tricare Standard and Tricare Extra.

The Defense Secretary also is to submit a report on modernizing and realigning military medical facilities.

During mark up, Wilson and Davis touted new steps in the bill to strengthen protections against sexual assaults. Each concluded brief remarks by rejecting most Defense proposals to rein in personnel costs.

Back in March, when introducing the 2015 defense budget request, Robert Hale, then under secretary of defense and comptroller, warned that if Congress rejected every initiative to curb compensation, it would punch “a $2.1 billion hole in our fiscal ’15 budget.”

The House subcommittee seems to have punched a hole only half that size by opting not to secure a full January military pay raise of 1.8 percent. If that silence on the raise survives the full committee mark and a vote by the full House and also a Senate version of the defense bill, it would be a green light for Obama to impose a 1 percent pay cap, as he did last year, under his authority to introduce an alternative federal pay in September.

Just a few years ago, the armed services committees could toss out budget cost-saving initiatives or vote to add expensive new programs by negotiating deals with appropriators to raise defense budget top lines.

That isn’t possible under the restraints of the 2011 Budget Control Act. It also is why the Joint Chiefs warn that training, modernization and other critical readiness accounts are at risk if their plans to curb benefits are killed.

Wilson sounded unconcerned as he rattled off the cost-saving ideas his subcommittee had rejected.

“This mark does not include the department’s request for military retirees to pay more for health care” or its proposal to make “a fundamental change to the Tricare benefit” or its plan to trim increases in Basic Allowance for Housing for stateside members living off base, Wilson said.

He didn’t explain how, given rigid budget ceilings, the subcommittee will replace savings lost from not capping increases to Basic Allowances for Housing, modifying Tricare and raising Tricare fees. Wilson did note the nation is still at war. He also gave another reason to delay most benefit cuts.

“Congress established the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission and we need to be informed of their analysis before proceeding with wide impacting changes,” he said.

The commission’s report is due next February. Members of the armed services committees cited that often in deflecting the pleas of military leaders over the past two months that compensation growth must be slowed now.

Davis did so again Wednesday. Apparently not swayed by recent testimony of military leaders, Davis said she needed to hear more.

“While I support not including in the mark the proposed legislative changes to the commissary system, the housing allowances reduction and the health care changes,” Davis said, “I do believe that we need to begin a conversation to address these issues.  Part of that conversation needs to include the results of the (MCRMC) so that we can address compensation and retirement in a holistic approach.”

Send comments to Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120, email milupdate@aol.com or tweet @Military_Update.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rich GiddensMay 04, 2014 - 4:33 pm

    South Carolina Congressmen like Mendel L. Rivers, Arthur Ravenel and Joe Wilson are the best friends the American GI ever had.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Big Chuckllz, fellow comics want to keep Fairfield laughing

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Holly Stell ready for new adventure, plans Sunday concert

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Solano actors join forces for new single, ‘Groove Me’

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
The Leaven to open center in Parkway Gardens

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

CSP Solano inmates make music for rehabilitation

By Krissi Khokhobashvili | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Memories vivid as Parents’ Day approaches

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Bay Stage filled with entertainment at Solano County Fair

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B3

 
Organizers seek riders, volunteers for Ride to Defeat Diabetes

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Friday concerts begin Aug. 1 at Solano Town Center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B3

 
Bay Area’s air district issues Spare the Air alert

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Assembly candidate Henthorn to appear at GOP dinner

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: July 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Daily Republic seeks good news for column

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A12, 22 Comments

 
.

US / World

Execution offers evidence against lethal injection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Judge argues for return of firing squad executions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

California removes lane splitting guidelines

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Outcry saves rare redwood from being chopped down

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California wine collector set for sentencing on fraud charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Satellites show major groundwater loss from Colorado River

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Obama wants limits on US company mergers abroad

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Toxic algae closes Oakland’s Lake Temescal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California man gets 4 years in counterfeit case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

SF professor charged with taping students in bathroom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
House panel clears way for vote on Obama lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Feds cap fines for not buying health insurance

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
House, Senate chairs offer competing bills on VA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Doctor fired back at gunman in hospital attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Social Security’s $300M IT project doesn’t work

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

More US girls now getting cervical cancer vaccine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Storm slams Virginia campground; 2 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Very bad week: Airline disasters come in a cluster

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Islamic militants seize part of Syrian army base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Iraq elects new president as attacks kill dozens

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ukrainian prime minister announces resignation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

UN school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

As inmate died, lawyers debated if he was in pain

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoons for July 25, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Call for tech diversity misplaced

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

 
Is parenting being criminalized in America?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

Coyote epidemic in Fairfield

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Today in History for July 25, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes for July 25, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
My siblings want friends to handle sale of our father’s house

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview July 25-31, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: Allen casts a limp spell in ‘Magic’

By Jake Coyle | From Page: B2

Review: ‘Lucy’ won’t stretch your brain capacity

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Robert Downey Jr. open to returning for ‘Iron Man 4’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay to go wild with ‘Manimal’ movie

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B2

Kiss, Usher, J.Lo to perform at Fashion Rocks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Pop star Azalea talking fashion on MTV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Jon Bon Jovi to be honored for humanitarian work

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Malkovich, Cumberbatch make Comic-Con premieres

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment calendar July 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
Stonestreet: Acceptance will grow for gay athletes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Moss powers A’s past Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Eagles soar past Expos in Area 1 tourney

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7

Hudson solid, Hammels better in Giants’ loss to Phillies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Indians win 14-8 over Mudcats

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7

49ers’ Smith plans to meet soon with Commissioner Goodell

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Pucker up! NASCAR returns to Brickyard

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Manning getting used to new faces on Broncos

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Raiders CB Hayden to start camp on PUP

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Nibali wins Stage 18, closes in on Tour victory

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
AP source: Gordon to meet with league Aug. 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Langer leads British Senior by 2 after 1st round

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
A’s Johnson designated for assignment

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Taiwan sweeps US in 1st day of International Crown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
AP Source: NFL stadium sites explored in Toronto

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

2 Texas football players charged with sexual assault

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Cavs sign Wiggins, who can’t be traded for 30 days

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Suspended WR Blackmon arrested on drug complaint

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Signups for Friday, July 25, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

Ravens RB Rice receives 2-game suspension from NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Lynch expected to hold out from Seahawks camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Putnam, Petrovic share Canadian Open lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, July 25, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

This date in sports history for Friday, July 25, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Weather for July 25, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

.

Business

LR4 is updated for fuel efficiency

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Ford’s green push

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: C2

Varying health premium subsidies worry consumers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
US unemployment aid applications drop to 284,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Dunkin’ pushing cashiers to ‘upsell’ in afternoons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Court throws out Chiquita terror payment claims

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Bombardier restructuring cuts 1,800 jobs globally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

US new-home sales plummet in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Across US job market, layoffs are becoming rare

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Nelson Max Allen

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Shirley T. ‘Mac’ McFadden

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 5 Comments

Mary Bell Scrivner Sanders

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Arturo Montenegro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Mary Spingola Stagnaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
.

Solano County Fair 2014

Cultural exhibits, entertainment are fair highlights

By Solano County Fair | From Page: SCF2 | Gallery

Bay Stage talent competitions, nightly karaoke party

By Solano County Fair | From Page: SCF3

Big names, big sounds grace fair stage

By Solano County Fair | From Page: SCF4 | Gallery

Jack & Bernice Newell Junior Livestock Auction returns to fair

By Solano County Fair | From Page: SCF4 | Gallery

Bay Stage welcomes wide array of entertainers

By Solano County Fair | From Page: SCF15 | Gallery

Solano shines at fair’s County and Cities Expo

By Solano County Fair | From Page: SCF16