House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel Chairman Joe Wilson (SC-02) made the following statement as prepared for delivery on the House floor regarding the Conference Report on H.R. 4310--National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013:
Wilson stated, "The conference report for the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act provides our war fighters, veterans and military families the care and support they need, deserve, and have earned; additionally ensuring that proposed drawdown plans do not cut to the heart of the Army and Marine Corps. Specifically, the conference report will:
Authorize a troop pay increase of 1.7% and extend bonuses and special pay for our service members;Limit end strength reductions for the active Army and Marine Corps; Provide significant new regulations and procedures for combating and prosecuting sexual assault within the military;Extend access to family housing for six months and Commissary and Exchange benefits for two years for troops who are involuntarily separated; andControl the rate of co-pay increases for the Tricare pharmacy benefit.
"From the beginning, the military personnel provisions in the Fiscal Year 2013 Defense Authorization Act have resulted from a bipartisan process. I want to thank the subcommittee Ranking Member, Congresswoman Susan Davis for her contributions and support in this process.
"Additionally, I appreciate the dedication of the Subcommittee staff: John Chapla, Debra Wada, Jeanette James, Craig Greene, and Jim Weiss along with my Military Legislative Assistant Chad Sydnor and Military Fellow, Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant Michelle King.
"I also want to note the contributions of Michael Higgins, a subcommittee staffer and true professional, who has devoted 23 years of service to the committee after serving 20 years in the Air Force. Mike will be retiring soon and this conference report will be his last one. Mike has made a positive difference on behalf of service members, military families and veterans.
"I urge my colleagues to support the conference report on the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act."