Opening Statement of Congressman John M. McHugh

May 1, 2007
Press Release

Contact: Josh Holly; 202.226.3988 

WASHINGTON, D.C. Congressman John M. McHugh (R-NY), ranking Republican on the Military Personnel Subcommittee, today released the following opening statement for the subcommittee’s mark-up of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008:

“Dr. Snyder, your Chairman’s Mark has been put together in a collaborative bipartisan manner.  It’s a good product that I support overall.

“There are some particularly strong parts to the proposal:

  • “The Army and Marine Corps end strength growth in Fiscal Year 2008 continues the initiatives that this subcommittee began several years ago.  In Fiscal Year 2008, the Army would be authorized 13,000 more and the Marine Corps 9,000 more than what Congress authorized last year.
  • “The basic pay raise of 3.5% is a full 0.5% above the budget request and continues efforts to reduce the pay-gap that now stands at 4%.
  • “The mark addresses Defense Health Program funding shortfalls created by unrealistic budget assumptions.  As a result, we have restored more than $2 billion in assumed ‘savings.’
  • “The mark also extends for one year the prohibitions we enacted last year on increases to TRICARE cost shares and premiums and retail pharmacy cost share increases.  
  • “The mark contains the Wounded Warrior Assistance legislation that was passed by the full House in March of this year to address the challenges our recovering service members and families face.
  • “I also appreciate the provisions in the mark that would begin, at least temporarily, providing a stipend to partially compensate people for the SBP-DIC offset, and would begin providing combat related special compensation to some medically retired military personnel with between 15 and 20 years service.  I know it was all we could do with what information we had on offsets that was available to us last night.  I think we should continue to try to do more for both these groups and will continue to work toward that end.

“I want to congratulate you on your inaugural effort as chairman.  It is a very good start. I also want to thank the staff who helped put the mark together.

“I would urge my colleagues to support this mark.”