Are you kidding me?

Dear Congressman or Senator,

Section 616 of HR 1540 “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012” is both offensive and absurd.

SEC. 616. MODIFICATION OF QUALIFYING PERIOD FOR PAYMENT OF HOSTILE FIRE AND IMMINENT DANGER SPECIAL PAY AND HAZARDOUS DUTY SPECIAL PAY.

(a) HOSTILE FIRE AND IMMINENT DANGER PAY.—Section 310 of title 37, United States Code, is amended—

(1) in subsection (a), by striking ‘‘for any month or portion of a month’’ and inserting ‘‘for any day or portion of a day’’;

(b) SPECIAL PAY AMOUNT.—(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the amount of special pay authorized by subsection (a) for qualifying service during a day or portion of a day shall be the amount equal to 1/30th of the maximum monthly amount of special pay payable to a member as specified in paragraph (3).

(2) In the case of a member who is exposed to hostile fire or a hostile mine explosion event in or for a day or portion of a day, the Secretary concerned may, at the election of the Secretary, pay the member special pay under subsection (a) for such service in an amount not to exceed the maximum monthly amount of special pay payable to a member as specified in paragraph (3)

Are you kidding?

Your big plan to cut spending is to decide that living with the imminent danger of being injured or killed isn’t hazardous to our deployed soldiers’ health?

Do you realize that the combat bonus for deployed Soldiers was only $225 a month before this cut?

That isn’t much. But given how small their paychecks are anyway, it means a lot to the families who, by the way, do incur extra expenses when their Soldiers are deployed.

(Try sending a care package to a Soldier in Afghanistan. It isn’t cheap.)

Now, thanks to you people, the families of currently (and soon-to-be) deployed Soldiers are looking at a sudden, unannounced and dramatic drop in the size of their paychecks.

But the way this rule is written, no matter how bad their finances may get, nobody at home is going to want to find extra money in those pay packets.

You probably don’t realize this, but Soldiers don’t TELL their families at home about the dangers they face. IT MAKES US WORRY MORE.

Now, thanks to you, at-home spouses will be able to easily calculate, at $7.50 per day, how many times their loved ones almost got injured or dead.

Oh yeah. That’s really going to boost morale.

Did anyone in Congress give a moment’s thought to the absurd amount of extra book-keeping this offensive regulation will require?  Before this, the checks got cut the same for each month.

Now, people who are close enough to the action to know what individual Soldiers are doing on a day-to-day basis will have to be assigned to calculate how many hazard days each Soldier qualified for each month and submit those numbers to the payroll people back home.

And the number of those payroll people back home will no doubt have to be increased substantially in order to handle the mountain of extra work involved in individually calculating and cutting tens of thousands of paychecks whose amounts will now vary month to month.

Oh yeah. That’s really going to save money.

We are currently enduring our seventh and eighth kids-in-a-war-zone experience. One of our uniformed offspring was nearly vaporized by an enormous Vehicle-Borne IED. Only the rapid response by our guys to the truck’s erratic behavior saved hundreds of lives.

But the way we read these new regs, our kid and the rest of the Soldiers who were there that day would not qualify for even one day of danger pay for this incident, because there was no HOSTILE fire.

The only bullets flying were the ones that stopped the truck and forced the driver out before he could arm the bomb.

That truck contained SEVEN TIMES the amount of explosives Timothy McVeigh used. We were so shook up when we learned about this event that we couldn’t even speak for three days.

What an insult that such a traumatic event does not even qualify for a measly $7.50 hazard pay under this new regulation. Is this part of that compassion and respect for our vets that President Obama enjoins on us?

Speaking of the Commander-in-Chief, we notice he and his “I’m all about military family support” wife recently returned from yet another multi-million dollar vacation.

Funny how we didn’t hear her raise any concern about how this new regulation would impact military families. Maybe she was too busy working out every morning so she could do faux push-ups on television with Ellen DeGeneres.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party leadership in Congress is flatly refusing to bring any bills before the Senate that would limit non-military federal spending in any way.

Polite words fail us.

————-
The full text of H.R. 1540 is available @
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.1540:.

 

33 Comments

Filed under Armed Forces, Defense, U.S. Congress

33 responses to “Are you kidding me?

  1. Chrissy,we all know the contempt democrats hold our military in.This goes back to Viet Nam.No soldiers,no war,get it?Yet they’d be the first to squeal for protection if they were attacked.It is up to us to stand up for those who display a courage and love of country few possess.
    How different things were under George W. Bush.You can say what you want,but he loved our fighting men and still does.

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    • FranklytheNut

      What about Bill Clinton? Oh, wait–he just loved the fighting women!

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      • FranklytheNut

        OK, except for Hillary, but she pitched lamps, so he had a good excuse…

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      • chrissythehyphenated

        Clinton wrote this (and a lot more) to a Colonel in 1969:

        “I am writing too in the hope that my telling this one story will help you to understand more clearly how so many fine people have come to find themselves still loving their country but loathing the military, to which you and other good men have devoted years, lifetimes, of the best service you could give. To many of us, it is no longer clear what is service and what is disservice, or if it is clear, the conclusion is likely to be illegal.”

        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/clinton/etc/draftletter.html

        I see quite a lot of arrogance in this. He has never served in the military and admits he was a draft dodger himself and that he greatly admired draft dodgers as heroes. He as much as says he loathes the military, gives a passing “you and other good men” compliment to those who have given their lives to service, then turns it into a slap by saying military service is likely to be illegal.

        I think the people on the Joint Chiefs and other uniformed members assigned to serve his administration should have received mental and spiritual health hazard pay.

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  2. Robin H

    I hope the people close to the action just put down “30 days” when asked. Who’s going to argue with them? Will the Pentagon send in accountants to observe? (no offense to accountants, I am one)

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    • chrissythehyphenated

      I am fairly sure the XOs (one of my kids is one) will get stuck with this, on top of their already 16 hour days of work for which they will now be paid less. They’re officers who took an oath to not lie. It’s why officers do not do interrogations. They aren’t allowed to lie. They’ll fill out the forms correctly no matter how much they hate it. But they will hate it. And it will distract all of them, which means people will die. There are real consequences to this stuff that the back ends sitting in Washington, collecting six figure salaries and golden parachute retirements, have not given a thought.

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  3. Chrissy, this is outrageous. I seems strange to me that there is so little being said in the LSM about this. Oh, wait… LSM… [headslap]… duh. The Obumbles reelection machine. I forgot.

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  4. GP

    This is one more way that obo is creating jobs. Just imagine how many bureaucRATS he can hire to implement all these new policies so he can come up with more phoney job creation numbers.
    We have got to get this SOB out of the white house before he destroys everything that is sacred and every dream that real Americans ever dreamed.

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    • chrissythehyphenated

      I had a snarky line in versions 28 through 34 about how he could add the new bean counters to his list of Jobs Saved or Created. I decided for reasons of length and general tone (trying to get Democrats to finish the whole thing before they crumple it up) that I’d leave the snarky Obama remarks to the very end.

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  5. You beat me to it, but the first thing that popped into my head upon reading this is how horrendous the paperwork is going to be. It’s already difficult as it is and they make mistakes all the time. Trust me. How do you think I know about it?

    Other than that…Wow! This just goes to show how little they care about the troops and how much about the money…nickels and dimes, baby!

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    • chrissythehyphenated

      I’d be okay if they took a ten percent cut across the board. And I mean EVERYONE. Every agency, every paycheck, every entitlement. It would hit me hard, personally, because I can’t make ends meet with my SS check since prices went so high. But I’d suck it up for the good of the nation. But only if EVERYONE did the same thing. This targeting of the MOST HONORABLE is just so evil. Every inch of me aches from the anger.

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  6. Wish I could come up with a suitable comment to make that didn’t involve profanity.

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    • chrissythehyphenated

      I wrote that letter at least 40 times. Not exaggerating. It’s all I did yesterday. Maybe 8 hours. Most of it trying to get it to where it didn’t set the paper on fire. I’ve got 3 copies for Senators and Congressman waiting for signatures.

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  7. Corey Shaff

    This was done by the House, not Obama. I don’t know whose brilliant idea it was, but it has to be one or more representatives.

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    • GP

      You have to be kidding. I don’t believe this did not come from the white house. Obama has done a great job of making everyone do the dirty work so he can keep his nose up in the air and pretend he is above it all. He just votes present as usual and makes his underlings do the dirty work.

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      • Corey Shaff

        It was in the original bill reported out of the Armed Services Committee. Because they met behind closed doors, it would seem to be impossible to find out why it was done. No one on the Committee seems to have objected to the change, however.

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        • chrissythehyphenated

          I am SO unimpressed to learn this. The list of members is here:

          http://armed-services.senate.gov/members.htm

          It includes John McCain and Scott Brown.

          I have to wonder if this was part of some trade-off for Section 544: Freedom of conscience of military chaplains with respect to the performance of marriages.

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          • Corey Shaff

            I didn’t say it to impress you. I was just informing you of when it was introduced. I too wonder where it came from.

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            • chrissythehyphenated

              It was McCain and Brown being on the committee that “unimpressed” me. You I appreciate. 🙂

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              • Corey S

                Thanks. I believe in giving credit where credit it due. Or, in this case, discredit where discredit is due. It’s counterproductive to improving things to blame Obama for everything that’s done wrong, however tempting, because doing that lets everyone else off the hook.

                Took me more than a little digging to find out when it got introduced. But I’m odd in that I like to have facts to base my opinions on. 😉

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                • chrissythehyphenated

                  I’m also odd in wanting facts. I never said I blamed Obama for this. I actually went and looked up the text of the legislation AND who voted for it and who voted against it. Maybe when you’re busy giving credit where credit is due, you could start with the OP.

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    • In all fairness, if you all want to know why, there is a reason that they did this. It’s common practice for servicemembers to cross into a combat zone for one day each month, just to get the combat pay for the whole month (I’ve never complained about it!). Sometimes, aviators will fly into the combat zone. Other times, ship captains will take the entire ship into the combat zone, so the whole crew gets the combat pay for the month. In that sense, it is somewhat of a dishonest practice that has been going on.

      However, the real solution would have been to crack down on the COs who are allowing this to go on, rather than punishing those who are just doing their job. I’m sorry, but someone who spent 20 out of 30 days in a hazardous zone should just get their $225, for crying out loud! The reality is that they’ve just made it worse instead of better. Now, these servicemembers will just try to spend as much time as possible in the combat zone, possibly expending more fuel and resources than they would have in the past to get the extra pay.

      Bottom line, if there’s a loophole, someone will find it. To stop this, you have to find a way to punish those abusing the system. If you simply create alternative loopholes, it will only be a brief period before you’re right back where you started from.

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      • Here’s another blogger’s take on it…
        http://thefightingbull.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/troops-arent-helped-by-being-coddled/
        Again, I don’t like the new rule, because I think someone who’s legitimately in a combat zone for 20 out of 30 days should clearly get the full amount. But I know there is a reason for the rule change.

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        • chrissythehyphenated

          And to reiterate your wisdom, “if there’s a loophole, someone will find it. To stop this, you have to find a way to punish those abusing the system.”

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          • Corey S

            And this is why it’s simplistic and unhelpful to just get outraged over a headline or talking point. (No insult intended to the OP.) Most of the time, when you do some digging, you find the situation is more complicated than it first appears.

            Thanks, Mafia Rose, for the explanation.

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            • chrissythehyphenated

              OP here … I did NOT “just get outraged over a headline or talking point.”

              I READ the actual legislation, QUOTED it and gave the source so anyone else who wants to READ it can go do so.

              The text says hazard pay is now limited to $7.50 per day and can only be paid to “a member who is exposed to hostile fire or a hostile mine explosion event in or for a day or portion of a day.”

              “Did you get shot at on Tuesday? You did? Oh, well the American people want to express their gratitude for your service by giving you an extra $7.50 in your pay packet.”

              I stand by my outrage.

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      • To take it a step further, I also believe this opens it up for abuse from the opposite end (which is just as much of a common practice). IOW…The gov’t can now station troops just outside of the combat zone, so that they only have to pay them for the days they actually cross that imaginary line into harms way. So, there will be troops legitimately stationed overseas who should be receiving the combat pay, but will be denied it, due to a technicality. I have no doubt this will happen…they do this kind of thing all the time, too. Again, they’re approaching this from the wrong angle and deluding themselves into thinking they’ve solved anything.

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  8. Corey S

    Chrissy, I didn’t mean you specifically. (Which is why I said “No insult intended to the OP”.) I see the behavior I described a lot and was addressing that, not you. I should have made that clearer.

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    • Corey, I think we’ve all seen people (on both sides of the political divide) go off half-cocked over a headline or other snippet of information that either doesn’t give the full story or gives a misleading impression — so I see what you’re saying. The full truth is seldom conveyed in a news headline or brief sound bite, even when the person who composed the headline or sound bite didn’t actually intend to mislead or misrepresent. One of the many things we all love about Chrissy is that she always does her homework before she posts information and/or opinion. I’ve never known anyone who researched things more thoroughly than Chrissy.

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  9. GP

    I agree. Chrissy does her homework, and her graphics are pretty special. Hopefully the seeds she has planted will continue to grow.

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