Congress has decided that now is the time to give our military a pay-raise that is equal to what the economy demands. They last few pay-raises were only token raises and have begun to cause hardships for our service members and their families. Actually they were more like a slap in the face. Congress will now have to pass this pay raise over the objections of President Obama. Will Congress succeed?
As Written By Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times.
Military personnel would see a 2.1 percent pay raise starting in January and a significant manpower boost within the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps as part of Congress’ annual defense spending bill unveiled Tuesday.
The compromise measure also includes a massive overhaul of the military health care system, but it eliminates a controversial proposal to change troops’ housing allowance, leaving the military’s current stipend program largely unchanged. Totaling nearly $619 billion, the bill represents lawmakers’ final offer to the White House, omitting several problematic provisions debated in recent months.
But that’s still about $3.2 billion more than President Barack Obama’s request, setting up a potential veto. Obama has said he won’t accept an increase in defense spending without corresponding increases in nonmilitary programs. If the president intends to make good on that threat, he’ll have to squash several measures that would benefit the military workforce at a time when many troops and their families feel their compensation and overall quality of life have slipped.
That’s because the extra money — tucked into overseas contingency funds, to get around defense spending caps — is used mainly to pay for additional pay and personnel costs. It pushes the 2017 military pay raise from the Pentagon-preferred rate of 1.6 percent to 2.1 percent, a mark equal to the projected rise in private sector wages.
If it stands, 2017 will be the first time in six years that the military pay raise tops 2 percent.
Military budget planners had said that money would be better used to pay for training and modernization costs, but lawmakers have argued that three consecutive years of pay raise trims have begun to hurt military families’ finances.
Lawmakers also used the additional funds to reject Obama’s plans to draw down …..
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