WASHINGTON – The nation’s military leaders told Congress Tuesday that they have raided every other pot of money they have in order to cut spending, and lawmakers must now slow the growth of personnel pay and benefits – a tricky proposition for Congress.
In a rare combined appearance on Capitol Hill, the military chiefs said their forces worry more about not having the best training and equipment. And they said that the skyrocketing personnel costs are forcing them to cut the number of troops they have, and erode their ability to maintain forces ready for combat and provide necessary, modernized equipment.
Congress is debating the proposed $496 billion defense budget this week, and military pay is one of many sensitive issues within that bill.
Senators expressed reservations about slowing the increase in pay rates and pressed the chiefs on ways to trim spending.
Driver’s license plan doesn’t fly with feds
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Federal authorities have rejected California’s proposed design for a driver’s license for immigrants in the U.S. illegally, saying it is not distinguishable enough for security purposes from permits given to citizens.
The officials want the license to state clearly on its face “that it is not acceptable for official federal purposes” and to have a design or color that differentiates it at a glance from other licenses.
The current design does not differ from other California licenses except for a subtle mark on the front and a disclaimer on the back in small print: “This card is not acceptable for official federal purposes.”
Leaders of the Latino Legislative Caucus called on California’s congressional delegation Tuesday to demand that Homeland Security officials reconsider.
Media groups fight FAA’s drone ban
WASHINGTON – More than a dozen media organizations challenged the government’s ban on the use of drones by journalists Tuesday, saying the Federal Aviation Administration’s position violates First Amendment protections for news gathering.
An administrative law judge ruled in March that the FAA can’t enforce its policy against all commercial use of drones when the agency hasn’t issued regulations for those uses. The FAA has appealed the judge’s decision to the full five-member safety board.
The FAA won’t currently issue drone permits to news organizations.