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House panel approves military pay raise

By Ed O'Keefe

Lawmakers disregarded Defense Secretary Robert Gates's calls for fiscal restraint on Wednesday, approving a military pay raise higher than President Obama and the Pentagon requested.

The House Armed Services personnel subcommittee approved a 1.9 percent pay bump for uniformed military personnel, half of a percentage point higher than Obama's fiscal 2011 budget. The markup also increased hostile fire pay and family separation allowances.

"This raise will further reduce the gap between military and private-sector pay raises," said subcommittee chairman Susan Davis (D-Calif.).

But the raise is in direct disagreement with the wishes of Gates, who plans to push for at least $15 billion in cuts from the Pentagon's budget, mostly from contracts and administrative redundancies. He also called special attention to Pentagon personnel costs.

"Leaving aside the sacred obligation we have to America's wounded warriors, health-care costs are eating the Defense Department alive, rising from $19 billion a decade ago to roughly $50 billion -- about the entire foreign affairs and assistance budget of the State Department," Gates said Saturday.

Davis said she's open to working with Gates on his cost concerns but kept the proposed pay raise intact.

The military pay bump means civilian federal workers should anticipate a 1.9 percent raise. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) vowed last year to ensure pay parity for service members and civilian workers after the military earned a larger raise.

Wednesday's House markup did not include language repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays openly serving in the military. It's unclear whether the issue will be included in next week's full committee meeting, Davis said. Gates wants the Pentagon to complete a military-wide study of the review before Congress acts.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 13, 2010; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
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Comments

"This raise will further reduce the gap between military and private-sector pay raises," said subcommittee chairman Susan Davis (D-Calif.).

What world is this woman living in? There are no private sector pay raises and Federal employees make more than private sector employees.

Seriously, is Washington in another planet?

Posted by: yetanotherpassword | May 13, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Obama and the Democrats are only too happy to give away your money to buy votes. And, of course, to this Obama wants to massively expand the federal bureaucracy - more government employees who can't be fired while we pay them to sit around ande surf porn sites.

No thanks. Please help send these creeps home in November.

Posted by: hill_marty | May 13, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

For those who really don't know, based on the two responses, government employees do not make the same amount as a civilian an majority of cases. Their are contractors who make more than the President of the United States, that actually support the Federal government. Do your research, a very small amount of government workers make 200K annually but it is common practice in the civilian sector, and oh yes they also get medical and retirement support as well. The gap has been there for years, and if you throw Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines in there, well many are getting government support, yes WELFARE, so do not be astound regarding the subject but do your research really, it is factual and available from any government or private sector resource. It's amazing that a skilled government employee make 50% less than a contractor who is not overall responsible for the work they are actually accomplishing. They make less and are responsible for the final outcomes, check and see, information is there.

Posted by: StandingSoldier | May 13, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I am a gov't employee and our pay, benefits, etc. are very good and i think a pay freeze for a few years would be fine as long as everyone in the gov't takes the same hit from top to bottom.

The country is living far beyond its means and no one wants to be the one to take the hit. Everyone has to take the hit from SS recipients to soldiers to politicians.

OTHERWISE, IT IS GOING TO BE WORSE A FEW YEARS FROM NOW AND THEN THERE WILL BE NO CHOICES BUT BIG CUTS TO ALL.

Posted by: dkeller1 | May 13, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

@StandingSoldier

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-12-10-federal-pay-salaries_N.htm

The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data.

Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months — and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.
...
When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.

Posted by: yetanotherpassword | May 13, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

good idea.raise military pay and draft all the jobless welfare people that are able but to lazy to work. more homosexuals and perhaps the acorn nuts. 3 hots and a cot,job training,foreign travel,unless obozo and gang decide to pull out of afghan/iraq

Posted by: pofinpa | May 13, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

No Congressman DARES risk the charge that they "don't support our troops." They live in fear of that attack ad, and so go to stupidly excessive lengths to preempt it.

Congress is just using our money to buy themselves a re-election soundbite. It's unprincipled, it's dysfunctional, and its disgusting.

Posted by: kcx7 | May 13, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Ridiculous that we wouldn't do this

We have MANY OTHER spots to cut rather than military pay

They are doing the hard work in the wars

Posted by: Bious | May 13, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Bious - not increasing pay is NOT a cut.

Posted by: yetanotherpassword | May 13, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

too bad for the soldiers that they aren't in the SEIU or SIEO or whatever it is, then they could get "stimulus" money

Posted by: standard_guy | May 16, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

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