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White House opposes military pay raise
Published: Thursday May 17, 2007
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The White House has come out in opposition to a proposal by Congress to raise military pay by 3.5 percent, according to a report by Army Times.

The administration had originally asked for only a 3 percent increase in pay, equal to private sector pay increases, effective January 1, 2008. The House Armed Services Committee raised the increase to 3.5 percent for 2008, and also recommended increases in 2009 through 2012 that would be 0.5 percent higher than private sector raises.

"The slightly bigger military raises are intended to reduce the gap between military and civilian pay that stands at about 3.9 percent today," according to the report. "Under the bill, HR 1585, the pay gap would be reduced to 1.4 percent after the Jan. 1, 2012, pay increase."

The report continues, "Bush budget officials said the administration 'strongly opposes' both the 3.5 percent raise for 2008 and the follow-on increases, calling extra pay increases 'unnecessary.'"

The White House's policy statement opposed several other Congressional provisions as well, including a death gratuity for civilians who die in support of military operations and benefits for disabled retireees and their survivors.

Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) sharply criticized the administration for its opposition.

"We ask our troops to risk their lives for our nation," said Emanuel. "We ask their spouses to raise families and make ends meet without them as they serve. The President is a lot of talk when it comes to supporting the troops and their families."

Emanuel continued, "Itís easy to say you support our troops, but actions matter and when it comes to the treatment of our troops and their families, our resources must match our rhetoric."