The House and Senate chambers adopted notably different positions on defense spending bills last week, including whether to scale back a key housing subsidy provided to members of the military. Specifically, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) proposal to slow the growth of the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) - a vital military housing benefit - was broadly rejected by the House in a move that defies the Obama Administration’s plans to roll back military compensation. While the Senate bill would move forward with changes to the program, limiting increases to below the rate of inflation.
A BAH reduction could seriously jeopardize military housing by increasing out-of-pocket costs for service members, and negatively impact housing options and real estate investments serving the military. Ultimately, the House bill deferred consideration of compensation matters until a related comprehensive review is completed in February 2015. NMHC/NAA were successful in including language calling specific attention to the impacts on the BAH in this review process.
Several other provisions of interest to apartment firms included the rejection by both chambers of a new round of base realignments and closures, a House amendment requiring the DoD to report on the prevalence of “black mold” in buildings, and a Senate provision allowing for the use of the NMHC/NAA-supported ICC-700 National Green Building Standard to meet green building requirements.
NMHC/NAA will continue to advocate for the DoD to fully study the impacts of a BAH modification and for them to consult with private-sector stakeholders throughout the process before modifying the program.
- Congress Passes Defense Authorization Bill with Halt to Military Housing Benefits Cuts
- House Passes Defense Authorization Bill with Halt to Housing Benefits Cuts
- NMHC/NAA Weighs in on NDAA Supporting Privatized Military Housing
- NDAA 2019 Conference Letter
- Annual Defense Bill Clears House with Relief for Housing Providers