OAN’s Geraldyn Berry
1:28 PM – Tuesday, June 13, 2023
Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee are proposing a 5.2% increase in all service members’ paychecks in their draft of the annual defense policy bill.
With Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) June 5th letter, Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee gave their support to what is essentially going to be the largest pay increase for military service members since 2002.
“As you know, people are the armed services’ greatest asset,” Gillibrand wrote in the letter. “As you also know, we are facing a recruiting crisis, making retention of our service members’ expertise and experience more important than ever.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is also reportedly set to establish a currently-unspecified monthly bonus for troops rank E-6 and lower to assist them in coping with inflation on basic necessities like food and shelter. Junior members may also receive an extra pay raise under the terms of the plan.
“Meanwhile, 24% of service members face food insecurity, and chronic unemployment and underemployment of military spouses compounds the financial difficulties service members and their families face,” the letter continued. “We cannot afford to make budgetary trade-offs that negatively impact those in uniform.”
These include bonuses for E-6s and below who are facing economic challenges, such as increased flexibility to adjust the Basic Allowance for Housing based on rising housing prices in specific areas.
Another proposal reportedly suggests an adjustment to the Basic Needs Allowance to support service members living near or below the poverty line.
According to Military.com, the pay raise alone would result in an annual increase of approximately $1,100 for junior service members, while high-ranking officers could see a raise of over $10,000 per year. The figures correspond with federal estimates aimed at ensuring military pay keeps pace with the rise in civilian pay in recent years.
The Senate committee is expected to reveal its own proposal for the bill in the upcoming week. Once both sides reach an agreement, the bill will be sent to President Joe Biden’s desk for approval.
The NDAA set out guidelines for governing and spending related to the Department of Defense. The House Armed Services subcommittees are now anticipated to deliberate on their specific sections of the bill on Tuesday and Wednesday, leading to a full committee vote on June 21st.
The current discussion of the salary hike coincides with disagreements about whether to authorize higher levels of defense expenditure than the ones that Congress agreed to in a package enacted last week.
It was signed by the president over the weekend.
A compromise between Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) increased the United States government’s borrowing capacity in return for spending limitations. Because of the agreement, the U.S. was spared an unprecedented default and the ensuing economic catastrophe, which may have resulted in a delay in military and veteran compensation payments, as well as salaries.
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