Petty Officer 1st Class Mark O'Donald/U.S. Navy file photo

House Approves 2.3 Percent Pay Raise in 2016 For Troops

The chamber's Defense spending bill is at odds with the Senate's version, which calls for a 1.3 percent pay increase.

The House on Thursday passed a major spending bill that includes a 2.3 percent pay raise for troops in 2016.

The House fiscal 2016 Defense Appropriations legislation embraces the automatic cost-of-living adjustment of 2.3 percent for military personnel next year, setting the stage for a debate over the pay raise amount with the Senate. The Senate fiscal 2016 Defense spending bill calls for a 1.3 percent raise for troops, in keeping with President Obama’s recommendation. Obama also proposed a 1.3 percent boost for federal civilian employees.

Service members received a 1 percent raise in 2014 and 2015.

The formula for determining service members’ annual pay increase is based on the Employment Cost Index and the growth in private-sector wages. But under the law (Title 37, Chapter 19, Section 1009) the president has the authority to set an alternate pay raise for military personnel, citing a national emergency or fiscal concerns, if Congress doesn’t pass legislation adjusting the amount or canceling it.

The House Defense spending bill also provides funds to “maintain 100 percent of troop housing costs” through the basic allowance for housing, according to a committee press release.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the fiscal 2016 Defense spending bill also on Thursday. It now heads to the floor for consideration.