President Barack Obama released his proposed budget for 2014 on Wednesday, and while it included spending cuts to many government agencies, military families are likely most concerned about what it has in store for the Department of Defense (DOD). While the reduction in spending is not as drastic, the budget does include several changes that members of the military community may not be happy about including capped pay raises and an increase of TRICARE fees, reports Military Times.
What's getting cut?
The proposal includes just under $527 billion for defense spending in the 2014 fiscal year and places a significant emphasis on the growing American interest in Asia and the South Pacific. While the figure stands at only about 1 percent lower than last year's budget, it's what's being cut that has raised the ire of some servicemembers. Active duty soldiers would see just a 1 percent pay raise starting January 1, which is a bit lower than the traditional 1.8 percent raise they usually receive. Furthermore, TRICARE Prime enrollment fees for working-age retirees under 65 are expected to increase in the coming years. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that while the cuts may be unpopular, they are necessary.
"The longer we put this off, the harder it is going to be – particularly given the uncertainty that still exists about future levels of military spending," he said in a prepared statement after the announcement of the budget.
Some funding stays
In contrast to the belt-tightening aspects of some of the other parts of the proposal, the budget maintains funding for some important projects. Specifically, it still sets aside billions of dollars for the manufacturing of next-generation warships and planes, such as the F-35 fighter, Forbes reports.
Facing an uphill battle
Although Obama officially announced the budget on Wednesday, it will likely face a number of challenges when it goes up for a vote in Congress. According to Military Times, certain aspects of the bill in particular have been met with criticism by lawmakers on Capitol Hill. For instance, the issue of base closings is particularly unpopular among legislators, especially those who represent areas with high numbers of military families. Members of Congress have also bristled about the lower pay raise, which will not keep pace with civilian pay.