2013 defense bill has good news for troops
By Rick Maze
Posted : Tuesday Dec 18, 2012
The 2013 defense policy bill approved Tuesday by congressional negotiators has mostly good news for service members, blunting Defense Department efforts to raise Tricare drug co-pays and neutering a proposed commission to recommend the reform of compensation and retired pay.
A final vote on the compromise National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 could come as early as Thursday in the House of Representatives, and by Friday in the Senate, sending the measure on for President Obama’s signature.
The $633.3 billion bill, covering the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, includes some landmark personnel changes, including having the government pay for abortions for service women in cases of rape and incest, and strengthening criminal investigations and prosecution for rape and sexual assault. It also tries to balance policies related to gays in the military.
Missing from the final bill is Stolen Valor Act legislation that would allow criminal charges to be brought against anyone who profits, directly or indirectly, from lying about military service or military medals received for valor. House and Senate negotiators were unable to reach agreement on details of exactly what acts should be a crime and how to punish the acts, aides said.
read more here
But it also includes this from none other than Todd Akin,
"In May, the House approved a version of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that includes a religious "conscience clause" authored by Akin. The measure purported to protect the religious liberties of service members by preventing them from being punished on the basis of their religious beliefs "concerning the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality." The provision is broad, and LGBT rights supporters fear it would permit discrimination against gay and lesbian service members.
Under Akin's proposal, a service member could cite his or her religious beliefs on homosexuality for refusing to serve alongside gay and lesbian colleagues, or for treating them differently from everyone else. For example, a service member could object to being housed in the same facility as someone who is gay or lesbian.
Akin says this provision is necessary to prevent service members from "being persecuted for their views," but the language could allow the persecution of service members on the basis of their sexual orientation."