Military servicemembers are fighting what would be their lowest pay raise in decades as the nation wages two wars, including a 10th year of combat in Afghanistan.
The Obama administration has proposed a 1.4% raise for the military in 2011, which would be the lowest since 1962, when no raise was given.
The administration, which wants to freeze non-military pay for federal workers to tackle the deficit, says a 1.4% raise for the military would match average private-sector-wage growth and is in addition to earlier increases in housing and food subsidies.
The raise proposal comes as the White House seeks ways to reduce a deficit fueled in part by stimulus spending for the private sector. Servicemembers say the cost-cutting should not include the pay for men and women in uniform.