The House Armed Services Committee has been consistently rolling back the administration’s savings proposals, including requested increases to military retirees’ healthcare fees. According to a press release by HASC Republicans:
The nation must honor its commitment to generations of service members, families, and survivors who have spent decades sacrificing their personal interests in service to their country. As such, [the Committee] rejects Administration proposals to increase some TRICARE fees and establish new TRICARE fees.
This perspective contrasts with what Lt. Gen. Larry Spencer, the Joint Staff’s director for force structure, had to say about the proposed fee changes back in February:
Well, I can tell you that these proposals reflect the counsel of the chairman, the Joint Chiefs and our senior enlisted leaders…Most important, in accordance with the principles that guided this budget, they honor our commitment to America’s all-volunteer force and their families.
The principle of supporting those who have served is sacred but, as Michael Peterson recently pointed out in more general context, we also need to remember that principles like this can be upheld with a range of particular policies. The HASC has acknowledged this with some of the changes they made last year even as they drape their specific policy argument in broader claims of principle.