PRESIDENTIAL MESSAGE; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 64
(Senate - April 30, 2015)

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[Pages S2564-S2565]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                          PRESIDENTIAL MESSAGE



  The PRESIDING OFFICER laid before the Senate the following message 
from the President of the United States which was referred to the 
Committee on Armed Services:

[[Page S2565]]

To the Congress of the United States:
  My Administration fully supports the underlying objectives of the 
recommendations that the Military Compensation and Retirement 
Modernization Commission (the ``Commission'') offered in January. These 
recommendations represent an important step forward in protecting the 
long-term viability of the All-Volunteer Force, improving quality-of-
life for service members and their families, and ensuring the fiscal 
sustainability of the military compensation and retirement systems.
  As I directed in my letter of March 30, my team has worked with the 
Commission to further analyze the recommendations and identify areas of 
agreement. At this time I am prepared to support specific proposals for 
10 of the Commission's 15 recommendations, either as proposed or with 
modifications that have been discussed among the Department of Defense, 
other agencies, and the Commission. These include the following:
  Survivor Benefit Plan
  Financial Education
  Medical Personnel Readiness
  Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs 
  Child Care
  Service Member Education
  Transition Assistance
  Nutritional Financial Assistance
  Dependent Space-Available Travel
  Report on Military Connected Dependents
  In some instances, the Department of Defense is already taking 
actions to implement these recommendations, and I will direct the 
Department to develop plans to complete this implementation. In those 
areas where legislation is required, I expect the Secretary of Defense 
to transmit to the Congress on my behalf the relevant legislative 
proposals, which I recommend be enacted without delay.
  With respect to the remaining recommendations, given their complexity 
and our solemn responsibility to ensure that any changes further the 
objectives above, we will continue working with the Commission to 
understand how the following proposals would affect the All-Volunteer 
  Blended Retirement System
  Reserve Component Duty Statuses
  Exceptional Family Member's Support
  Commissary and Exchange Consolidation
  I believe there is merit in all of these recommendations and that 
they deserve careful consideration and study. I will ensure that the 
Congress is kept apprised of this ongoing work.
  Finally, I agree with the Commission that we need to continue to 
improve the military health care system. The health care reforms 
proposed in my Fiscal Year 2016 Budget are a good first step and offer 
service members, retirees, and their families more control and choice 
over their health care decisions. This remains a critical issue, and my 
Administration will work with the Commission and interested Members of 
Congress in the coming months to develop additional reform proposals 
for consideration as part of my Fiscal Year 2017 Budget.
                                                        Barack Obama.  
The White House, April 30, 2015.