Amid the rising inflation rates, house lawmakers are pushing for a 4.6% pay raise for service members for the 2023 defense authorization bill. This will be the most significant pay raise the military personnel will get in the past 20 years.

4.6% Pay Increase Proposal

Members of the House Appropriations Committee included the pay increase in its initial draft of the defense budget proposal for fiscal 2023, siding with the Biden administration’s proposal back in March.

In 2022, the average pay increase for federal employees will be 2.7%. The 2023 proposal almost doubled that figure and was a much more significant increase than the 1% pay increase in fiscal 2021. The White House Wrote,

These efforts will help agencies retain qualified employees, empower workers to make their agencies better, create a pipeline of qualified leaders, and provide better services to the public. The budget supports these objectives by ensuring that all those in federal jobs earn at least $15 per hour and providing a pay increase of 4.6% for civilian and military personnel.

The increase is part of next year’s $802.4 billion defense spending plan.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. (Office of the President of the United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Keeping Up With the Inflation

While this is good news, this has not taken into account the rapid inflation spikes yet, which result in higher prices for groceries, imported goods, and especially gas. The Congressional Budget Office predicted that high inflation will continue, expecting the consumer price index to “rise 6.1% this year and 3.1% in 2023.” This means that while the prediction is lower than the current annual level of 8.3%, it is still way above the 2.3% baseline. Suppose Vice President for Government Relations at the Military Officers Association of America Dan Merry is to be asked. In that case, the pay raise might not be sufficient anymore when the extra 4.6% appears in the troops’ paychecks.

I believe that we should be able to get more flexibility and agility with military pay. This pay raise [proposal] is going to be woefully short of the inflation rate. And if we just address it in the annual authorization bill, it may not be enough.

Tony Reardon, National Treasury Employees Union National President, thinks the proposed amount is a good starting point. However, his union is still for Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii’s 5.1% pay raise legislation. Reardon said,