Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., left, talks with the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., left, talks with the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Defense Combat Pay, Bonus Authority At Risk

Bipartisan plan would fast-track legislation to avoid interruption of special military compensation.

The outlook for renewing combat pay and other special compensation for troops before the end of the year improved on Monday.

The leaders of the Senate and House Armed Services committees have agreed to pass identical bills authorizing fiscal 2014 funds for the Defense Department, in an effort to expedite the legislation and send it to President Obama before Jan. 1. If Congress does not approve a Defense authorization bill before the end of the month, the department’s authority to offer 37 different types of incentive pay and bonuses to current and prospective military members will expire on Dec. 31. If that happens, it would be the first time in 52 years that Congress failed to pass a Defense authorization bill before year’s end.

Troops will receive a 1 percent across-the-board pay raise in 2014, regardless of whether Congress manages to pass a bill before Dec. 31. The president’s recommendation, which is 1 percent, takes effect if Congress does not offer an alternative. Armed Services committee leaders have agreed on a 1 percent pay hike in the identical legislation they want to fast track through both chambers. The plan prohibits lawmakers from offering amendments.

While a basic pay raise is guaranteed at this point, other compensation, including combat pay and re-enlistment bonuses, are at risk if the House and Senate leadership fail to bring the legislation to a floor vote in time. The House adjourns for the year on Dec. 13, while the Senate leaves Washington on Dec. 20. The plan is for the House to vote this week on the bill, and the Senate to approve the legislation before it leaves town.

“By the way, when people say they want to wait until January, keep in mind that on Dec. 31 the services will no longer be authorized to pay hazardous pay to the troops serving in hostile-fire areas,” said Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member James Inhofe, R-Okla., in floor remarks on Monday. “We start on Jan. 6, and we are going to be in the [continuing resolution] on Jan. 15,” Inhofe said, referring to the chamber’s schedule right after the holidays. “There is no way they are going to pay any attention to Defense authorization during that time period. There is not the time to do it.”

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, outlined the department’s expiring authorities in a Dec. 9 letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Affected compensation includes enlistment, re-enlistment and other special bonuses; combat pay; travel and transportation allowances; housing allowances; and premium pay.

Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., entered Dempsey’s letter into the record during floor remarks on Monday. Levin and Inhofe, who agreed to the bipartisan fast-track plan with their House counterparts, Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., and Ranking Member Adam Smith, D-Wash., acknowledged it wasn’t the ideal way to get such critical legislation completed, but the timing left them no choice.

“This is not the best way to proceed, but our troops and their families and our nation’s security deserve a defense bill, and this is the only practical way to get a defense bill done this year,” Levin said on Monday.

The bill would authorize $552.1 billion in spending for national defense in fiscal 2014, and an additional $80.7 billion for overseas contingency operations.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.