DEFENSE BUDGET A BAD DEAL FOR RETIREES AND MILITARY FAMILIES
VFW vows to fight against meager pay raises and increased health care fees
April 11, 2013
Pentagon unveiled its budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 yesterday, outlining
how the Obama Administration wants to fund the Department of Defense in the
coming year. The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.
immediately fired back at the proposal, which he says breaks faith with our
military retirees and their loved ones.
VFW recognizes that the Pentagon has tough decisions to make about its budget,
but the proposals in this year’s budget breaks faith with our volunteers by
further burdening our military retirees and our military families,” said John
E. Hamilton, who leads the 2 million-member VFW and its Auxiliaries. “The VFW
has long believed that trying to find savings from health care accounts and
military pay threatens to hollow out the all-volunteer force, and we will not
sit idly by and let these kinds of cuts take place.”
proposed Defense budget for FY 2014 asks for a military pay raise of only one
percent and asks for increases in TRICARE health care fees for military
retirees and military families. At the 113th VFW National
Convention, VFW members voted overwhelmingly to oppose any increases to TRICARE
fees for retirees, and Hamilton said the VFW will continue to pressure the
Pentagon and Congress to find savings through programs that do not affect
military personnel, retirees or military families.
officials also insisted that Congress must offer service members a reasonable
pay raise comparable to the consumer price index.
service members volunteer for a dangerous job with notoriously low pay, which
is why the VFW believes a 1-percent pay raise simply doesn’t cut it,” said
Hamilton. “We owe it to our brave men and women to at least offer a pay raise
comparable to the civilian sector if we hope to recruit and retain the best and
brightest to defend our nation.”
the budget roll-out, senior Defense officials acknowledged that they sought to
develop a budget that minimally affected service members and their families,
and the VFW was encouraged to see a 2-percent increase in the military
personnel budget that included increases in housing allowances, subsistence
allowances and continued investment in military transition, suicide prevention
and sexual assault prevention.
VFW also was pleased to see that the Administration sought to fully fund the
military’s Tuition Assistance programs in FY 2014. Services suspended
enrollment in Tuition Assistance after budget sequestration took effect in
March. In response, the VFW quickly mobilized to save the program as part of
the FY 2013 budget resolution, generating more than 14,000 emails to Congress
in only two days.
VFW sees military Tuition Assistance as a critical professional development and
military readiness tool, which is why we are encouraged to see the
Administration’s ongoing commitment to the program,” said Hamilton. “Education
is critical to building strong military leaders, and the VFW will hold the
military accountable for continuing to support Tuition Assistance.”
officials recognized that the proposed budget sought to maintain American
military posture to support global operations in support of the Global
War on Terror and ongoing tensions on the Korean peninsula, and that further
investments would prioritize forward-deployed service members and wounded
The VFW believes that military quality-of-life
is inextricably linked to morale and military readiness. In the coming weeks
and months, the VFW will continue to advocate for a responsible Defense budget
that not only protects America’s global interests, but also meets the needs of
military personnel, retirees and their families.
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