Panel approves biggest military raise in 20 years

In a package of sweetened benefits for servicemen and women, the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee approved an $82.3 billion authorization measure Tuesday by voice vote and sent it to the full committee. The proposal, which will be combined with several other titles of the overall Defense authorization bill at a markup today, calls for an across-the-board, 5 percent pay hike for officers and 6 percent for enlisted soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. The pay package, amounting to $36.8 billion, also contains even higher increases--ranging from 6.3 percent to slightly more than 10 percent--for certain noncommissioned officers and midgrade commissioned officers. Put together, the two-tiered raise is equal to an overall 6.9 percent boost in compensation for military personnel, according to Subcommittee Chairman John McHugh, R-N.Y. He says it "would reduce the pay gap between military and private-sector pay increases over time, from 10.4 percent to 7.5 percent."