Thompson Amendment Included in National Defense Policy Act; Measure Headed for Senate Consideration Next Week

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House passed a series of bills with bipartisan support, including H.R. 3304, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, by a vote of 350-69, and H. J. Res. 59, a House-Senate budget agreement that sets overall spending for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015, by a vote of 332-94.  U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-5) voted to support both measures.

Statement on H.R. 3304: “The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 is long overdue, despite the House passing its version during the Summer. This bill affords the military some certainty about policy moving forward and offers the brave men and women of our military the resources to safely fulfill their missions and the support they deserve upon return from service.”

Background: H.R. 3304 includes a Thompson-sponsored amendment dealing with the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP) which offers 180 days of health insurance coverage for service members transitioning into civilian life. The amendment extends TAMP by an additional 180 days for all services rendered through telemedicine, to ensure that coverage is available especially for those with Post Traumatic Stress, symptoms of which often do not appear until 8 to 10 months following deployment.    

  • The amendment builds on Thompson’s 2011 STEP Act, now Public Law 112-81, Section 713, which expanded service member health care services and the use of telemedicine at the Department of Defense (DoD).    

Statement on H. J. Res. 59:  “We were able to prevent the Senate’s push for new taxes and spending increases and continue my commitment to deficit reduction. While far from perfect, this bill replaces the most economically harmful cuts imposed by the sequester with smarter spending reforms that will produce greater deficit reduction over the long-term. The bill will avoid harmful cuts to our military and protects our fragile economy.”

Background: H.J.Res.59 constitutes a budget agreement reached between the House and Senate for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the measure would reduce the deficit by $85 billion. After factoring in targeted replacement of sequester reductions of $62 billion, the savings put towards deficit reduction will amount to $23 billion.