To My Congressman

To My Congressman,

I’m writing you concerning Senate Bill 1376 (section 604) and urge you not to allow this bill to become law! While I am writing concerning this bill particularly;  I ask you to please consider the impact of your decisions whenever military pay & benefit cuts or any decrease in military funding are being considered.

This letter will not include statistics or numbers that prove why this bill doesn’t make sense. For those statistics I ask you to read this article:

http://blog.usni.org/2015/07/13/proposed-bah-cuts-regressive-discriminatory-and-costly?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+UsniBlog+%28USNI+Blog%29

I’m not including statistics in this letter because I’d like to share my own experience with you. If numbers and statistics don’t convince you to vote NO to decreased military funding maybe learning a little bit more about 2 of the people who will be affected by decreased funding will. My husband and I are both officers in the United States Army and we would both be impacted by this bill.

Not only am I married to another service member but our neighbors are dual military, at least 5 of my immediate co-workers are dual military, and we have many friends who are dual military.

I am the lower ranking individual in my marriage which means my paycheck would be affected by the proposed BAH cuts. Why should I receive fewer benefits than my co-workers who aren’t married to a service member for doing the same exact job simply because I’m married to a service member? I am a 1LT (P) and a registered nurse (RN). If my BAH is cut my “regular military compensation” will no longer be competitive to the wages of civilian RNs with similar experience.

It’s no secret that being a military spouse presents many challenges. Between long work hours, days (sometimes weeks) in the field, temporary duty (TDY) assignments, and deployments the title of military spouse is not an easy one.  Now imagine the challenges a dual military couple faces. There’s no longer just 1 person facing long hours, TDY assignments, deployments, etc.
My husband and I didn’t live together our first 22 months of marriage because we were stationed at separate locations in different states and both had TDY assignments before PCSing (permanent change of station) to the same location. We only lived together for 5 months before my husband deployed to Iraq. I spent 3 of those 5 months working the night shift which means my husband and I only saw each other 3-4 times a week (on my days off—luckily I’m a nurse and have more than just 2 days off per week) because we passed each other going to and from work on the days I worked.

We also face challenges taking leave at the same time. My husband is in the infantry and is offered 2 weeks of leave around Christmas and New Year’s and 2 weeks of leave during the summer. He is expected to take leave during the allotted 2 week periods as determined by his unit. As a nurse it is very challenging for me to take 2 weeks off during Christmas and New Year’s. I’m only allowed 1 holiday off which means I can’t be gone for Christmas and New Year’s which means my husband and I can’t schedule an entire 2 weeks of leave together, if at all. Summer leave doesn’t present as big of a challenge, but typically summer leave is offered over the 4th of July. Again, taking leave over a high demand time period and holiday can be very challenging as a nurse.

The above examples are just some of the challenges we face as Soldiers and a dual military couple. Now we’re faced with the possibility of receiving around $13,000 less per year if the proposed BAH cuts become law.

Every member of the military (and their families) makes many sacrifices on a daily basis. Soldiers and their families have enough to worry about and should not be burdened with the stress of budget cuts that may impact their financial stability or the ability to do their job effectively and safely. The military and all of its Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines deserve more. They deserve the best.

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