Payments coming from your pocket

By Tibor Machan: Freedom New Mexico columnist It was as if President George Bush became Santa Claus. An MSNBC anchor announced the president signed into law a bill that extends unemployment compensation payments to jobless Americans and said, without flinching, this is “good news.” Only mainstream nonpartisan media can carry this off. For starters, extending […]

VA vows timely GI Bill payments

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist The new Post-9/11 GI Bill, which on average will double the value of education benefits for eligible veterans, will be launched on schedule next August and begin making payments to students and colleges next fall. That’s just as Congress intended, says a senior Department of Veterans Affairs official. Keith M. […]

Raise, ‘Wellness’ plan get OK

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Military members will get a 3.9 percent pay raise in January. But the fiscal 2009 defense authorization approved by Congress on Saturday does not include a House-passed plan to set military pay raises through 2013 a half percentage point higher than private sector wage growth. The new defense bill will […]

Senate passes $286 billion farm bill

Staff and Wire reports WASHINGTON — The Senate on Friday approved a $286 billion farm bill with an election-year expansion of subsidies for growers and food stamps for the poor. The bill, passed on a 79-14 vote, expands subsidies for wheat, barley, oat, soybeans and several other crops and creates new grants for vegetable and […]

Retro pay reaches $31,000, averages $1,500

By Tom Philpott : Military Update Two months into a year-long review of pay records and disability compensation histories for 140,000 military retirees have produced a total of $45 million in back pay to 31,000 disabled retirees, say officials in charge. The lump-sum payments average about $1,500. Ten retirees have received more than $25,000 each, […]

Distributing retroactive pay complicated matter

By Tom Philpott: Guest Columist The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have worked out a plan for sharing the cost and the task of delivering about $500 million in back pay to more than 100,000 military retirees with VA-rated disabilities. The retroactive payments are owed to nearly half of all recipients of Combat-Related Special […]

Officials want to raise TRICARE co-payments and fees

By Tom Philpott : PNT columnist Defense Department officials say it’s time users of military health care pay a greater share of rising medical costs, perhaps through higher co-payments and enrollment fees that haven’t been raised since TRICARE, the military’s managed care program, began a decade ago. In an interview, Dr. William Winkenwerder, Jr., assistant […]

Bill would benefit Cannon

Davis Arkin If Jose Campos gets his way, some big smiles will be seen on the personnel at Cannon Air Force Base. Campos, a House of Representative member whose district includes both Curry and Roosevelt counties, said on Monday afternoon that he is putting together legislation that could significantly benefit Cannon. The bill has not […]