WASHINGTON — House lawmakers introduced a bill this week that would block the Defense Department from slashing per diem allowances for long-term temporary duty.
The DOD is looking at a 25 percent reduction in the allowances for TDY longer than a month, and a 45 percent cut for assignments longer than 180 days — a move that could require troops and civilian workers to cover about $22 million in travel expenses annually.
The move is a cost-saving measure in a time of tight budgets. But Federal unions called the proposal “wrongheaded” and have persuaded a group of 26 lawmakers to oppose it and the new legislation co-sponsored by congressmen Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and Walter Jones, R-N.C.
“In recent years, Defense workers have experienced death by a thousand cuts, with pay and benefits being whittled away little by little,” William Dougan, national president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said in a written statement. “These cuts to DOD employees’ TDY reimbursements are just salt in the wound. These cuts dealt a significant blow to morale within the department.”