National Security

‘Despicable’: Lawmakers Lash Out At Biden Admin For Refusing To Approve Pay Raise For Enlisted Troops

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Jake Smith Contributor
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Republican lawmakers berated the Biden administration for refusing to support giving a pay raise to junior enlisted service members.

The current draft of the 2025 annual defense bill includes a pay raise for junior troops, which the Biden administration said on Tuesday it “strongly opposes” until the Pentagon conducts a compensation review. Lawmakers on the House Armed Service Committee (HASC), which drafted the proposal, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that it was “disgraceful” that the Biden administration would reject a pay raise for the troops, especially given the recruiting and retention problem currently plaguing the military. (RELATED: Biden Admin Shoots Down $24 Billion Pay Raise For Enlisted Troops — After Spending Seven Times More On Ukraine)

“This is offensive and wrong… Republicans and Democrats on our committee agreed this is unacceptable,” HASC Chair and Republican Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers said in a statement. “I believe wholeheartedly that the brave Americans who serve in our Armed Forces shouldn’t have to worry about making ends meet, unfortunately President Biden doesn’t feel the same.”

“Biden is in trouble politically, and he opposes traditional American values, including the core principles that were once embraced by the United States military,” Republican Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins told the DCNF. “We desperately need a change in our executive leadership.”

The proposed increase would cost roughly $24 billion over five years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. A year-long committee study found that found quality of life in the military was dropping, especially among junior troops.

The pay level for junior troops in particular had failed to remain competitive with the civilian job market, according to the study. Junior troops received incremental pay raises — or no raise at all — in eight of the last 40 years.

Junior troops and servicemembers with family are also struggling to stay afloat with their current salaries and afford reasonable housing, the study found. Many servicemembers told the HASC that they had been forced to rely on welfare programs to help feed their families.

Lawmakers told the DCNF that the Biden administration is more focused on its policy initiatives, such as funding foreign conflicts, paying off university students’ debt and implementing diversity, equity and inclusion policies into the military.

“Biden’s opposition to giving our service members a historic pay raise is despicable,” Republican New York Rep. Elise Stefanik told the DCNF. “At a time when our military is experiencing a recruitment and retention crisis, the Biden Administration is choosing to put our service members and their families last and further eroding our national security.”

“If there is one thing the Biden Administration has been consistent on since day one it’s putting the American people last,” Republican Tennessee Rep. Scott DesJarlais told the DCNF. “From leaving our border wide open to terrorists to now opposing a much deserved and needed pay raise for our troops—the White House has made it clear that its priorities lie with protecting Ukraine’s borders and funding Ukraine’s military, not our own.”

The Biden administration has spent a total of $175 billion in the last two years on Ukrainian and European security, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. That total is broken up into several aid packages, including the most recent $61 billion package signed by Biden in April.

“Many military families rely on food banks, SNAP, and WIC to get by, and the White House is paying off student loans for pro-Hamas individuals, throwing money into foreign wars, and giving welfare to illegal aliens. This is disgraceful,” Republican South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace told the DCNF. “Biden is turning his back on the servicemembers he is supposed to protect as commander-in-chief.”

Several HASC members told the DCNF that the pay raise proposal was drafted as the result of bipartisan discussions. The proposal is currently included in the HASC’s version of the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is expected to be voted on by the entire House of Representatives in the coming weeks.

The White House did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

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