Bigger pay raise for troops still possible this year
WASHINGTON — Troops still have a chance in December to receive their highest pay raise in years, even if Congress goes ahead with plans to put off a vote on 2017 defense spending for months to accommodate President-elect Donald Trump.
The House and Senate are hashing out the details of the National Defense Authorization Act, a sprawling military policy bill, and could wrap up this week. House lawmakers have proposed a version of the annual bill that includes a 2.1-percent pay hike instead of the 1.6 percent increase ordered by President Barack Obama to take effect in January.
If the House proposal prevails in the final NDAA – the Senate went with the lower raise – it could become law in December and the Defense Department would be required to begin doling out the biggest military pay raise in five years, according to congressional staff involved with the legislation.
Obama used an executive order to set the 2016 pay raise at 1.3 percent.
Congress has already abandoned plans to pass a 2017 defense appropriations bill before the end of the year, which could leave other new policies in the NDAA unfunded for now. But the pay raise could go into effect even as other spending increases are delayed, staff members said.
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