Over Obama's objection, Congress agrees on a bigger military pay raise, more troops. 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. For a snapshot of annual salaries for selected ranks, see below:
Private E-1, under two years of service, annual pay is $ 19,188. That would be $9.22 an hour based on an 40 hour work week, however if you consider Army privates work at least 10 hours a day, the hourly wage would be $7.38 - and American fast food worker wants $15 a hour!!
Sergeant, E-5, over 8 years of service, annual pay is $ 36,624
Master Sergeant E-8, over 20 years of service, annual pay is $ 64,116
Captain O-3, over 4 yesrs of service, annual pay is $ 64,776
Colonel O-6, 0ver 20 years of service, annual pay is $ 120,648
For the complete 2017 Proposed Pay Schedule, click here.
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 Army and Marine Corps end strength, again to cut long-term personnel costs.
Article from Military Times