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What’s in the defense bill?

The Capitol dome, in the earlier stages of construction of the scaffolding, in Nov. 2014.

MEREDITH TIBBETTS/STARS AND STRIPES

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 4, 2014

A look at some key points in the annual defense budget being considered by Congress:

PAY RAISES — Troops will see a pay increase of 1 percent as proposed by the White House, instead of the 1.8 percent indexed to private-sector growth, and which some in Congress had hoped to preserve.

PURPLE HEART – Victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shootings will be eligible to receive Purple Hearts and combat injury benefits. Pentagon officials for years have said the shooting victims are not eligible for the Purple Heart and certain combat-injury compensation.

HOUSING — Increases in basic allowance housing will be slowed; troops will begin paying 1 percent of the cost out of pocket beginning next year. The military hopes to reduce the payments in coming years so servicemembers pay 5 percent of their housing costs.

TRICARE — Beneficiaries will pay $3 more out of pocket for prescription medications next year. A major overhaul of the military insurer was not approved.

A-10 — Lawmakers bent to supporters of the A-10 Thunderbolt by blocking an Air Force proposal to retire it. But the bill still allows the Pentagon to reduce maintenance costs by flying the aircraft less.

COMMISSARY — Base supermarkets around the world get a $100-million cut in their current $1.4 billion budget. Military proposed reducing by twice that much next year and reduce the supermarkets’ budget to $400 million over three years.

TOBACCO — The military is prohibited from banning tobacco sales on its bases. The provision was sponsored over the summer by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a Marine veteran, as the Pentagon called for review of the sales.

SYRIA — The Obama administration will be allowed to continue with its plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State. Lawmakers were skeptical of the strategy but say they are now satisfied with the details of the operations.

Source: The Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015
 

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