Military Personnel Subcommittee Ranking Member Susan Davis made the following statement at today's Military Personnel subcommittee markup:
"I want to thank the Chairman and the staff for working in such a bi-partisan manner.
"The mark includes several provisions that I support:
A 1.7 percent pay raise;
Changes to the sexual assault annual report to provide us greater fidelity in the information that is being provided, and the requirement for the Department to provide us periodic briefings so that we can continue our oversight of implementation of the sexual assault provisions in last year's bill, along with the initiatives outlined on April 24th by the Secretary of Defense. I know that our colleagues will have other proposals to address this issue during markup;
Improvements to the transition process for members leaving the service;
Authorization of $25 million in Impact Aid, and additional $5 million for local educational agencies impacted by force structure changes and BRAC.
"I understand that the mark does not include any provision to increase TRICARE fees. Without specific authorization, the Department is limited to only increasing fees to the same rate as the retiree COLA increase. However, the Department has the ability to increase pharmacy co-pays without specific authorization from Congress. I understand, Mr. Chairman, that you are considering limiting pharmacy increases to the retiree COLA as well. I am interested how the committee will pay for the cost of such a proposal and the impact to the defense health budget. I look forward to learning more about your proposal before the full committee markup.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman."