Wednesday, April 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Budget deal offers stability to Pentagon spending

WASHINGTON — Working-age military retirees would see fewer dollars in their federal pensions and the Pentagon would get some long-sought stability in spending under Congress’ budget deal.

The agreement eases some of the pain of the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that past and current defense secretaries, senior military leaders and Congress’ defense experts have railed against for months. It would reverse a $20 billion financial hit that the Pentagon faced next month, although the robust, post-9/11 military spending through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is clearly over.

Under the deal, defense spending in the current 2014 fiscal year would be capped at $520.5 billion, up from the current level of $498.1 billion. In fiscal 2015, the amount would be capped at $521.4 billion, up from $512 billion. Pentagon spending would be about the same in 2014 as in the 2013 fiscal year.

The numbers weren’t exactly what they wanted, but defense leaders and members of Congress’ military panels welcomed the certainty promised in the deal. A House vote is likely Thursday.

“I support the legislative proposal, as I understand, which provides relief to the immediate and urgent readiness problems we face,” Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in response to questions from The Associated Press. “I hope this is the beginning of a conversation on the longer-term challenge to the capability and capacity of our force that is developing over time because of sequestration.”

The Pentagon has struggled for years as Congress could only manage temporary spending bills. Now the numbers-crunchers and defense strategists will know what the budget is for two years, and can plan accordingly.

“We’ve had one cut after another. We have also continually kept the defense of this country in an unpredictable and unstable position,” said Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. “What this agreement will do will at least stabilize that.”

The budget deal marks one of the few times that Congress has shown a willingness to even touch the costly benefits in the military. Lawmakers have resisted the Pentagon’s proposals to raise health care fees or scale back benefits, warning that it would undermine recruitment and be unfair to those who volunteer to serve.

Under the plan, working-age military retirees under the age of 62 would see lower cost-of-living increases, adjusted to the rate of inflation minus 1 percent. The formula would be no change in the current year, a 0.25 percent decrease in December 2014 and a 0.5 percent decrease in December 2015. It would not apply to retirees who left due to disability or injury.

“Remember, these are people who are under the age of 62 who retire early. Most of them have another job,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, another senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. “It’s minus 1 percent, it’s phased in gradually so it’s the least painful way possible.”

The pension changes also would apply to new civilian workers, saving a total of $12 billion over 10 years.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Congress may need to do more to deal with skyrocketing military benefits such as health care.

“In the words of Secretary (Robert) Gates, the personnel and entitlement costs are eating us alive. We’re going to have to make changes,” McCain said.

Another Armed Services Committee member, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Congress should look at all benefit plans, calling them unsustainable.

“I don’t mind asking our military members to make some sacrifices when it comes to … getting us off the path to becoming Greece,” he said of a nation reeling from debt.

Arnold Punaro, who worked for former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., from 1973 to 1997 as a top aide and later staff director of the Armed Services Committee, said the change in military retiree benefits “sends a signal to the Pentagon and service chiefs that Congress can bite some bullets.”

Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, insisted that Congress had to make some adjustments in spending to ensure that it gets a budget and then “fund the military in an intelligent way.”

But the Veterans of Foreign Wars rejected the plan and urged its members to contact lawmakers and pressure them to oppose it. The organization, one in a network of powerful groups of retired officers and veterans, said the change would undermine “recruitment, retention and our national security.”

The budget deal also imposes a cap on executive compensation, limiting how much a contractor could charge the federal government to $487,000 for an employee.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

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

.

Solano News

 
Delta barriers no longer needed

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Supervisors voice concern on state Delta plans

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Dental clinic coming Friday, Saturday

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

 
Rotarians talk about running clinic to help Haitians

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District eyes new auditor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
County honors Purple Heart recipients

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Solano recognizes 1,300-strong volunteer corps

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Garamendi to host open house at Fairfield office

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A7

 
Highway 12 night work scheduled in Delta

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

 
Kids fishing derby in Fairfield is part of Earth Day

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A7

 
County approves Icon agreements

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B9

Ceremony set to break ground for Suisun City Walmart

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B9, 19 Comments | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. opening with free drinks

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B9, 8 Comments

 
Museum readies to host Sallie Fox Day in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Golf tournament to raise funds for children

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Mustangs and More event moved back to October

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A10

Rotary club to host clay shooting derby

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A11

 
Ghost Walk returns to Suisun City

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A11

Penalty decision looms in Winters homicide case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A11

 
NAMI talk on reducing mental health stigma

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

 
.

US / World

In Internet TV case, justices show concern

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

GOP candidate releases education policy overview

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in S. Sudan slaughter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

FedEx sued over deadly California bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

 
Obama views mudslide scene, mourns with survivors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Analysis: Putin likely to ignore West on Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Biden: Russia must ‘stop talking and start acting’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Most Sherpas decide to leave Everest for season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Grieving borrowers told to repay student loan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Jet stowaway at hospital; security issues linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
SKorea ferry toll hits 146 as search gets tougher

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine orders new ‘anti-terror’ operation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
In Ukraine’s east, mayor held hostage by insurgent

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Acts of bravery emerge from pilloried ship crew

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
IRS awards bonuses to 1,100 who owe back taxes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15, 4 Comments

.

Opinion

 
Editorial cartoons for April 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

 

Groundwater becomes next big California fight

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A13

 
Fairfield’s main problem is the mayor

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 6 Comments

.

Living

Solving and resolving life’s problems

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for April 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: April 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
 
A healthy take on the very not healthy Scotch egg

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Horoscopes for April 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

 
How can I get my 12-year-old grandson to sleep in his own bed?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

DeGeneres making design series for HGTV

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Discovery to chronicle Everest avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Bieber seeks delay in Fla. DUI trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in Philly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

5 Fairfield runners finish Boston Marathon

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Sharks beat Kings 4-3 in OT, take 3-0 series lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Prep swimming update: Postseason looms on horizon

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
SCC softball ends regular season with 29 straight wins

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Warriors’ Curry eager to erase Game 2 nightmare

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Spurs’ Popovich wins NBA Coach of the Year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Raiders begin offseason workouts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
David Moyes out as Manchester United manager

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Seahawks acquire QB Terrelle Pryor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL playoff game to air on ESPN for 1st time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB suspends 4 after Brewers-Pirates brawl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Djokovic: Wrist better, will try to play in Madrid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Armstrong coach Bruyneel banned for 10 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Pujols’ 500th HR helps Angels beat Nationals 7-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rangers rally for two runs in ninth to beat A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Beverly Hanson, forgotten pioneer in women’s golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tech boom presents new wrinkles for Wrigley Field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warriors announce new plans for SF arena

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Kentucky freshman Julius Randle to enter NBA draft

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP Source: N.Y. Giants’ Hill facing 3rd suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NBA Playoffs: Raptors even series with Nets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Novartis reshapes business with GSK, Lilly deals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

AT&T had strong 1Q on wireless installment plans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Valeant, Ackman make $45.6B Allergan bid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

.

Obituaries

Richard P. Horn

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Kyong Hee Maxwell

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Norma O’Regan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Anne Irene Elizabeth Fulgoni

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

.

Comics

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard Of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7