Congress’s Fight For Military Against Inflation

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As of today, service members will be likely getting a 4.6% pay raise in 2023 which will be the largest raise in over 20 years. However, this is not much considering that inflation is sitting at 8.6%. Lawmakers are pushing for as high as a 13% pay raise but have not been able to make much progress. Now some lawmakers are proposing an additional 2.4% inflation bonus to those who make less than $45,000 in base pay for 2023. That would be as high as $90 extra each month or $1080 for the year.

The bonus was proposed in an amendment to the House Armed Services Committee’s annual authorization bill that would add $37 billion to the defense spending budget. The main argument for higher pay raise seems to be that it would require higher pay raises for federal employees also which would significantly increase the spending budget that lawmakers are not ready to do.

Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif argued for a minimum of $15 an hour for all troops for a total of $31,200 a year assuming eight-hour workdays, five days a week for 52 weeks a year. Currently, the lowest-paid service members earn $21,000 a year in basic pay which calculates out to about $10 an hour. This obviously does not factor in housing or subsistence pay which would equate to higher hourly rates.

Other proposals include increasing housing allowances while reducing commissary costs to help offset the impact of inflation. Basic Allowance for Housing covers 95% of local housing rates with a proposed increase to 96%. There is an extra $250 million for housing stipends and $500 million for commissary support budgeted. There will be a full House vote next month.