• Senators Seek to Eliminate Policy Language Limiting Housing Allowance0

    Language in the Senate version of the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill that would reduce service members’ basic allowance for housing (BAH) payments in many cases, including for dual-service military families and single members living together, should not be included in the compromise version of the legislation, according to a bipartisan group of 18 senators. The Senate language would limit BAH payments to actual expenses for rent and utilities, preventing personnel from pocketing extra payments if they find less expensive housing. The existing system offers military members a flat payment based on their rank and location. But the Senate proposal also would cut the BAH for dual-military couples in half, to prevent each service member from receiving extra housing compensation …

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  • Defense Bill Offers Compromises on Military Benefits0

    The conference report for the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill offers a mixed bag for military families, trimming the basic allowance for housing (BAH) over the next four years while attempting to preserve discounts at commissaries. The compromise legislation adopts DOD’s proposal to slow the rate of increase in the BAH until rates cover only 95 percent of service members’ out-of-pocket costs, but eases the reduction into place by 1 percent increments over the next four years. Last year, leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees reached a compromise allowing the housing benefit to cover only 99 percent of rental and utility costs …

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  • Compromise over Cuts to Housing Allowance Reached, GOP Conferees Say0

    House and Senate conferees trying to hammer out a final version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill appear to have reached an agreement over reductions in service members’ basic allowance for housing (BAH), considered one of the talks’ chief sticking points, according to House GOP conferees. The breakthrough could pave the way for negotiations to wrap up shortly, reported CQ Roll Call. “We’re closer,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.). “The BAH is no longer an issue …

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  • Defense Bill Talks Slowed over Military Compensation Issues0

    Progress by House and Senate conferees negotiating a compromise version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill slowed last week due to disagreements over service members’ benefits and other key issues. As a result, the target date for the House to vote on a conference report has slipped to the week of July 27, reported CQ Roll Call. If the conferees finish work on a final version of the defense policy bill in time for the House to take it up next week, the Senate still would have time to clear a conference report the following week before starting its August recess …

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  • Pentagon Pushing Plan to Consolidate Exchanges, Commissaries, Sources Say0

    Defense Department leaders appear to be moving ahead with a plan to consolidate the military’s commissary and exchange systems, according to multiple sources. The move comes in response to a recommendation from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission in January. Consolidating DOD’s three exchange services with the Defense Commissary Agency into a single Defense Resale Activity would generate savings by combining many of the back-end office and support functions such as logistics and staffing, the panel concluded …

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