Senate Takes Up Budget, Defense Bill

NGAUS Washington Report

(Dec. 17, 2013) The Senate will not go home for Christmas until it has voted on the Bipartisan Budget Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, both of which have passed the House of Representatives.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate majority leader, has said his chamber will also tackle several presidential nominations that have been languishing.

The NDAA has been forwarded from the House with no amendments to make passage easier and more likely. It includes a 1 percent pay hike for troops. It also would not allow the Air Force to make any moves to retire the A-10 aircraft from its fleet until at least the end of 2014. The delay will allow Congress time to consider alternatives to any force structure changes.

The Bipartisan Budget Act hammered out recently by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., limits the impact of sequestration, but does so in part by cutting retirement pay for retirees under the age of 62. It would limit cost-of-living hikes to 1 percent below the inflation rate. Some predict an enlisted retiree would lose $83,000 over his lifetime. A retired officer would lose more.

Both bills passed the House with bipartisan support.