House Armed Services Committee lawmakers want a nearly 5 percent pay raise for military members in 2023, a dollar bump they are set to propose on Wednesday in its draft of the annual defense authorization bill.
The expected proposal of a 4.6 percent raise – which mirrors the Pentagon’s wanted pay raise, to go into effect Jan. 1 – would also come with several studies that lawmakers want to have explore military pay in general.
The studies – if adopted into the full committee’s version of the bill and eventually signed into law – would among other things look at and revise the Pentagon’s pay tables to “more realistically and fairly compensate service members,” according to a statement from lawmakers on the committee’s personnel subpanel.
The proposal would follow the Pentagon’s annual budget request, unveiled in late March, that asked for a 4.6 percent pay raise, a big uptick from the 2.7 percent increase in 2022 and 3 percent in 2021.
“That’s our largest pay raise in 20 years on the military and civilian side,” Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks told reporters at the time.
Military pay increase remains up in the air, however, as lawmakers could still suggest a higher figure.
But if the proposal stands, it would ensure junior enlisted troops would earn roughly $1,300 more in take-home pay in 2023, while senior enlisted and junior officers could earn $2,500 more. Those with at least 12 years of service, meanwhile, could take home $4,500 or more in extra pay, according to Military Times.
That may not be high enough, however, as Americans, are currently grappling with the more than 8.5 percent inflation this past year, the highest rate of inflation in decades, due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
That ballooning inflation has led to an increased cost of living for all U.S. citizens, meaning pay increases don’t cover as much for food, fuel and other household essentials as they used to.
The House committee’s full-day mark-up of the authorization bill is scheduled for June 22, while the Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to unveil its version of the legislation next week.