December 10, 2013, 07:30 pm
Deal would erase $22B in Pentagon cuts
By Jeremy Herb
The deal struck Tuesday by Budget Committee leaders would give the Pentagon $22 billion in sequester relief in fiscal 2014.
While the budget deal provides some sequester relief for the military that Pentagon leaders have clamored for, it does not raise spending back up to pre-sequester funding levels.
In all, the agreement will increase defense spending by $31.7 billion above the sequestration caps over the next two years, with an equal amount of relief going to non-defense discretionary spending.
Members of the military would help pay for the boost in spending.
A summary of the agreement says that veterans under the age of 62 will have to pay more into their retirement accounts.
The agreement modifies the annual cost-of-living adjustment for working-age military retirees to inflation minus 1 percent, a change that will gradually be phased in over the next three years.
The proposal would boost the defense budget caps to $520.5 billion in 2014, up from $498.1 billion, and to $521.4 billion in 2015, up from $512 billion.
The deal would reverse an additional $20 billion cut set to hit the Pentagon’s 2014 budget under sequester. Military leaders had warned that the cuts would have been devastating for readiness, causing program cancellations and creating a hollow force.
The agreement would still require the Pentagon to find roughly $32 billion in savings from its proposed 2014 budget, however, as its $552 billion budget proposal was $54 billion above the sequester caps.
The budgets passed by both the House and Senate this year also set defense spending at pre-sequester levels — as does the Defense authorization bill that Congress hopes to pass this month.