FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2016
Sen. Wielechowski Voices Opposition to Proposed Cuts to Military Housing Allowance
ANCHORAGE – Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) today spoke out against a provision in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would severely impact the earning capacity of military service members across the nation, including Alaska.
The current system sets in place a housing allowance called the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). This system has been carefully formulated and implemented, and each service member is given an allowance based upon the rank of the individual member, and the location that member is stationed. If military members find housing for less than the amount of the allocation, or if they share housing with one or more roommates, or a spouse, they may use the surplus to pay utilities, put into savings, pay off a mortgage, or spend on their family as they see fit.
Under the new provision, each military member would be eligible only for a reimbursement of their actual expenses for rent. If their spouse also serves, each would be reimbursed for only half of their combined rent.
“Thousands of my constituents and many more Alaskans would suffer if this allowance is cut, and Alaska’s economy would suffer. The Basic Allowance for Housing is more than just a rental reimbursement. It is a huge component of a military family’s financial stability,” said Sen. Wielechowski. “The proposed reduction in income can amount to thousands of dollars a year for our servicemen and women, and this loss would be devastating.”
Opposition to changing the current structure has been voiced by the Department of Defense, which characterizes it as an essential element of Regular Military Compensation (RMC), which is the military equivalent of a civilian salary. The Military Officers Association of America, and other military advocates have come out opposing the bill.
“This is a significant issue for the men and women who serve our nation,” said Sen. Wielechowski. “Their housing situation is often transient, and military spouses have often sacrificed their own careers. Cutting this allowance would result in a significant hardship for many service members.”
For more information, contact Jeanne Devon, Press Secretary for the Alaska Senate Democrats, (907)269-0173.