Pay Raise in Jeopardy

August 14, 2015

Before leaving for the August recess, Congress failed to complete its annual defense bill. One of the sticking points holding up lawmakers is whether or not to cap the active duty pay raise.

Active duty pay raises are designed to keep pay comparable and competitive with wage growth in the private sector. Pay raises for the active force are based on the Employment Cost Index (ECI), a metric calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that measures private sector wage growth. 

Earlier this year, House lawmakers agreed to authorize a full active duty pay raise of 2.3 percent. Senate lawmakers, however, want to cap the pay raise at 1.3 percent.

“Annually raising active duty pay at the same pace as the private sector is essential to sustain a quality force - and maintain readiness - over the long term,” said MOAA's Director of Government Relations, Col Mike Hayden, USAF (Ret).

The president has already agreed with the Senate's position on the pay cap. If it goes through, this would be the third year of pay caps below private sector wage growth. It would continue a troubling trend of eroding pay and benefits for servicemembers and their families.

Shortly before Congress left town for the August recess, lawmakers rubber-stamped a COLA increase for disabled veterans and military survivors.

“It makes no sense for Congress to adhere to one set of laws for our veterans, but fail to follow the same logic for active duty troops,” said Hayden.

The president has until the end of the month to notify Congress if he intends to cap pay. Time is running out.

Act Now! Send a MOAA-suggested message asking Congress to support the 2.3% raise that keeps military pay on pace with private sector wage growth.