NDAA bill includes biggest military pay raise in 5 years
WASHINGTON — Troops would get their biggest pay raise in years under the final version of Congress’ annual defense policy bill unveiled Tuesday.
The 2.1-percent increase included in the National Defense Authorization Act would break a five-year trend of raises that have fallen below the private sector. The higher pay would go into effect Jan. 1 if the bill is passed by Congress and it could receive an initial vote in the House on Friday.
The massive $618.7 billion policy bill also includes $3.2 billion to boost troop numbers and bolster Marine Corps and Air Force aviation, a military health care overhaul and a requirement to study whether women should be included in the military draft.
The NDAA was hashed out during months of negotiations between the House and Senate, which had disagreed about an $18-billion spending hike for the military. The proposal was pared down in the final bill but the $3.2-billion increase could run into opposition from Democrats, who have demanded any additional defense spending be matched with dollars for domestic programs.
Military pay raises have been kept below 2 percent since 2011. Meanwhile, troops and families have been stressed by deployments, aging equipment and shrinking overall defense spending.
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