Raises, benefits top committee agenda

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Billions of dollars in pay and benefits are at stake for active duty members, reservists, disabled retirees and surviving spouses as a House-Senate conference committee begins to negotiate differences in separate versions of the 2007 defense authorization bill. When the process ends, perhaps by late September, military personnel will know […]

House approves military pay raise

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The House passed a $441.6 billion defense authorization bill for fiscal 2006 that includes a 3.1 percent military pay raise for next January and higher ceilings on bonuses and special pays. Before Wednesday’s vote, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman of the armed services committee, pulled a provision that would have […]

Committee votes to open ‘tricare select’

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The House Armed Services Committee has voted 32-30 to open the new TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) program to any drilling reservist or National Guard member willing to pay the premiums, now set at $75 a month for member-only coverage or $233 for family coverage. An unprecedented fulltime health plan for […]

Better benefits could be on way

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Three weeks before the TRICARE Reserve Select program begins, a key senator predicts Congress this year will embrace his plan to offer even better healthcare benefits to drilling Reserve and National Guard members. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., new chairman of the Senate armed services’ subcommittee on military personnel, described as […]

Health insurance will cost reservists

Tom Philpott: CNJ columnist Thirty years ago, Congress decided the nation could no longer afford to offer military volunteers a robust draft-era GI Bill, so it concocted VEAP, the most unpopular veterans’ education benefit of the last century. Last year Congress decided the nation couldn’t afford to open active duty TRICARE benefits to all drilling […]