A House Republican defense appropriations plan aims to significantly increase the pay of junior enlisted troops, with a proposal for up to a 35% raise next year. This comes in response to concerns regarding the financial struggles of military families, with many living at or below the federal poverty line. However, the proposal is part of a larger GOP-written budget plan that includes contentious items, making its future uncertain.
- The proposed pay increase would ensure a base pay of at least $31,000 annually for the lowest-ranking service members, approximating a $15-an-hour wage.
- Most troops ranked E-5 and below would see an increase in pay under this plan, separate from a proposed 5.2% pay raises for all troops starting next January.
- The proposal is part of a larger GOP-written budget plan, which also includes contentious issues like banning the Defense Department from providing abortion assistance, medical care to transgender individuals, or diversity training. This raises doubts about the bill’s passage.
- Approximately 22,000 active-duty military service members and their families are currently at or below the federal poverty line and qualify for federal food assistance.
- The budget bill, which includes the proposed pay increase, calls for $826.5 billion in defense spending for fiscal 2024, and will be debated in the House Appropriations panel soon. Senate Democrats have yet to share their Defense Department funding plans for fiscal 2024.