Senate appropriators OK military pay raise, reject layoff notice proposal

Petr David Josek/AP file photo

Senate appropriators unanimously approved a 1.7 percent pay raise for military service members Thursday as part of the fiscal 2013 Defense spending bill. But they rejected an attempt to grant contractors more advance notice of potential layoffs from sequestration.

The Senate’s version of the $604.5 billion appropriations bill does not mention a pay raise for the Pentagon’s civilian employees, in keeping with silence from lawmakers in both chambers of Congress on President Obama’s request for a 0.5 percent civilian pay hike. The pay raise for military service members is the same amount approved this spring by Senate authorizers.

The Defense appropriations bill now moves to the full Senate. It comes in $29 billion less than current spending levels and is $392 million higher than President Obama’s budget request.

The legislation also designates $33.2 billion for the Defense Health Program, which includes TRICARE. The Obama administration has been at odds with lawmakers over TRICARE this budget cycle; the White House wants fee increases to help rein in personnel costs but lawmakers have not gone along with the proposal. They also have questioned the Defense Department’s recent request to transfer $708 million in fiscal 2012 from the Defense Health Program and TRICARE to use for other unspecified priorities. The $606 billion Defense spending bill the full House approved in July includes an amendment that would prohibit funds from being used to increase TRICARE health coverage for Medicare-covered beneficiaries older than 65.

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s markup of the Defense spending bill Thursday quickly turned into a debate on how to avoid a budget sequester. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., reminded committee members that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned that the across-the-board budget cuts scheduled to kick in on Jan. 2, 2013, would be disastrous for the department. The senator urged Republicans on the committee to compromise with Democrats, who insist that raising revenues must be part of a plan to avoid sequester.

Graham also offered an amendment that would have required federal contractors to issue notices of possible layoffs due to sequestration 60 days prior to Jan. 2. The committee rejected the amendment by a 17-13 vote. The Labor Department ruled earlier this week that contractors should not issue these notices.

Although the House already has passed several spending bills for fiscal 2013, the full Senate has yet to pass any appropriations bills.

Lawmakers reportedly agreed on a six-month stopgap spending measure to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.