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Lawmakers Set Up Pay-Raise Duel

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The size of next year’s military pay raise has been thrown into question after members of the Senate Armed Services personnel subcommittee approved a smaller increase than did their House counterparts.

Troops would get a 1.6 percent pay hike under the version of the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill approved by the Senate on May 10. That would match the Obama administration’s request, but it’s a half-point lower than the 2.1 percent increase recently approved by the House Armed Services Committee.

The final size of the raise, set to take effect Jan. 1, will be resolved when House and Senate lawmakers meet in a few weeks to iron out differences in their respective versions of the annual defense legislation.

Other provisions in the Senate subcommittee’s bill would:

  • Increase funding for the Defense Health Program to improve health care quality, expand access to care, and give beneficiaries more health care choices.
  • Launch the most extensive overhaul of the Uniform Code of Military Justice in 30 years, with proposed reforms affecting sentencing and plea agreements, post-trial processes and the appellate structure.
  • Strengthen provisions to guard against sexual assault and rape, provide more and better support to victims, and bolster efforts to track incidents in the ranks.