Excerpted from FREE BEACON
The White House has threatened to veto a key Pentagon spending bill unless lawmakers increase the amount of money U.S. troops pay for healthcare and decrease pay raises for troops, among several other things.
The Department of Defense Appropriations Act does not increase the fees associated with TRICARE, the Pentagon’s in-house health system, the White House said Monday evening in a statement that threatened to veto the spending bill over this and other issues.
“The administration strongly urges the Congress to support its proposed TRICARE fee increases,” the statement said.
The administration’s threat to veto the spending bill drew sharp criticism from some on Capitol Hill.
“For years, the Obama administration has swollen the federal workforce and asked the military to pay for it,” one Republican congressional aide told the Washington Free Beacon. “The president is forcing nearly 200,000 troops out of uniform” as a result of deep defense budget cuts known as sequestration.
“Now he’s cutting the pay of those lucky enough to survive,” the aide said. “After three huge cuts to the military in four years, it’s time the Obama administration look elsewhere for savings.”
“Perhaps they can start with the IRS,” the aide said.
The spending bill would authorize the Pentagon’s 2014 budget, meaning that a White House veto could stall and even jeopardize critical Defense Department operations.
Congress has long opposed the fee increases and has gone out of its way to restore savings that would lower costs for those enrolled in the healthcare program.
A failure to increase TRICARE fees and co-payments, as well as to cut other military programs, “could result in hundreds of thousands of low-income children losing access to Head Start programs, tens of thousands of children with disabilities losing Federal funding for their special education teachers and aides,” the White House said. Keep reading