Lawmakers support 2.3% military pay hike, but quietly

Lawmakers support 2.3% military pay hike, but quietly

A key House committee is quietly backing a 2.3 percent military pay raise next year, a full percentage point higher than what the Pentagon requested.

But the House Armed Services Committee appears intent on not making a big deal about it — and the lack of strong supporting language could leave troops’ paychecks lighter.

Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, committee chairman, said his committee’s draft of the 2016 defense authorization bill will not include any language regarding the military pay raise.

Instead, the committee will tacitly abide by a law on the books for years that ties the military raise to average increases in private-sector wages.

That would result in a 2.3 percent pay hike effective Jan. 1 if the White House doesn’t intervene. But President Obama’s budget request calls for a smaller 1.3 percent pay raise — and he has authority to set the final figure if Congress doesn’t specifically mandate something different.

Last year, the House also passed its defense authorization bill without any pay raise language, and the Senate backed Obama’s lower proposed raise. The end result: Troops got a raise that was half a percentage point below the increase in average civilian pay.

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