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No 3.5% Pay Raise For Troops?

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The White House has pulled another political loser for no apparent reason, this time taking a bold stand against…the military and military widows?

From Army Times:

The Bush administration had asked for a 3 percent military raise for Jan. 1, 2008, enough to match last year’s average pay increase in the private sector. The House Armed Services Committee recommends a 3.5 percent pay increase for 2008, and increases in 2009 through 2012 that also are 0.5 percentage point greater than private-sector pay 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. Under the bill, HR 1585, the pay gap would be reduced to 1.4 percent after the Jan. 1, 2012, pay increase.

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.�

I might understand if this wasn’t during war time, but, um…you’re really going to piss off our ALL VOLUNTEER Army? You think that’s good idea George? These increases are only so people in the military don’t think they’re missing out by not being in the private sector…you know…so they STAY in the military.

Oh, and about those families left behind…

A death gratuity for federal civilian employees who die in support of military operations, and new benefits for disabled retirees and the survivors of military retirees also drew complaints.

This includes the transfer of the GI Bill benefits program for reservists from the Department of Defense to the Department of Veterans Affairs, a step that GI Bill supporters said is needed to set the stage for increases in reserve benefits that have been kept low by the military because it views the program as a retention incentive rather than a post-service education program.

Refusal by lawmakers to approve Tricare fees for beneficiaries, something administration officials view as an important step in holding down health care cost, also drew opposition, along with a provision imposing price controls on prescription drugs dispensed to Tricare users.

Yeah, because we want to make sure that their family pays their fair share after their loved one gave their life for their country. That’s a great way to promote fighting, and possibly dying, for our collective freedoms.

Good times.