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5.2% troop pay raise?

U.S. Senator for New York Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Photo credit: TSgt. Jack Sanders, U.S. Air Force

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The proposal for a 5.2% pay raise for troops in 2024 has garnered widespread support in Congress, according to press reports.

This development comes as a sigh of relief for military personnel, who have long awaited a substantial pay raise to address high inflation.

The Biden Administration requested the pay raise, and lawmakers appear receptive.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y) for example, urged the leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee in a recent letter to commit the pay raise to this year's National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA.

Gillibrand's office told that they have not heard anything to suggest the raise is on the chopping block. But the senator sent the letter to committee Chairman Jack Reed, D-R.I., and ranking member Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., "to make sure it doesn't happen," her office said.

"As you know, people are the armed services' greatest asset," Gillibrand, a member of the Armed Services Committee, wrote in the letter, a copy of which published recently. "As you also know, we are facing a recruiting crisis, making retention of our service members' expertise and experience more important than ever.

"Meanwhile, 24% of service members face food insecurity, and chronic unemployment and underemployment of military spouses compounds the financial difficulties service members and their families face," the letter continued. "We cannot afford to make budgetary trade-offs that negatively impact those in uniform."

While details regarding the implementation and funding of the pay raise are yet to be finalized, the enthusiastic reception from both sides of the political spectrum indicates a collective determination to fulfill this long-overdue commitment to the armed forces. The proposed increase not only aims to address the financial concerns faced by military personnel but also serves as a symbolic gesture of appreciation for their unwavering commitment to duty.

Beyond inflation, there is also concern for the military to compete with higher paying jobs in the civilian sector. By advocating for this significant pay raise, decision-makers aim to attract and retain talented individuals, ensuring a strong and capable military force for years to come.

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