House Panel Endorses 3.1% Military Raise

House Panel Endorses 3.1% Military Raise

Photo by: Architect of the Capitol

A House appropriations panel has approved a 3.1% military raise as part of its fiscal 2020 defense funding bill. If enacted, the Jan. 1 hike would be the biggest raise for troops since 2010.

The $690.2 billion bill approved May 15 by the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee represents a $15.8 billion increase over current spending but is $8 billion less than requested by the Pentagon.

This is the first step of a long process for approving the annual defense budget, which consists of separate policy and funding bills. Enactment of both the National Defense Authorization Act and the Defense Appropriations Act, or some similar legislation, is required by the Oct. 1 start of fiscal 2020 to avoid disruption in military programs and to allow for new program starts or significant changes in existing programs.

The bill allocates $418 million to the Army’s top modernization priority, long-range precision fires, and provides $206 million for the Army’s improved turbine engine program for Black Hawk and Apache helicopters.

The 3.1% across-the-board raise would apply to basic pay and drill pay for reservists. The increase, requested by the Trump administration, matches last year’s average increase in private-sector wages and salaries. The defense funding bill does not address increases for military retirees, veterans or the Defense Department’s civilian workforce.