Biden Threatens to Veto Bill That Would Give Military 30% Pay Raise

Lida Citroën/Military.com

The White House is threatening to veto House Republican legislation that would give the military’s junior enlisted troops a 30% raise next year.

“If the president were presented with H.R. 4365, he would veto it.,” the White House said in a press release on Monday.

The bill includes language that would ensure no member of the military would make less than the equivalent of $15 per hour during a 40-hour work week.

According to a report from Military.com, “the bill would set the monthly base pay for an E-1 with at least four months of service at $2,600.60, compared to the rate now of $1,917.63 per month. An E-6 with less than two years of service could make $3,210 per month under the bill, compared to $2,980.47 per month now.”

“In addition to pointing to the administration’s ongoing review, the White House argued the changes to the pay scale are not fully paid for in the bill. The bill would provide $800 million to cover increased salaries, but the White House said it would cost $4.4 billion in fiscal 2024 and $23.4 billion over five years,” Military.com has reported.

The White House has claimed that the current language of the bill includes “partisan policy provisions with devastating consequences, including harming access to reproductive health care, threatening the health and safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) Americans, endangering marriage equality, hindering critical climate change initiatives and preventing the administration from promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.”

One of the main issues the administration has with the bill is that it prohibits surgery or hormone therapy for transgender troops and ban funding from being used to pay for travel and leave for service members seeking abortions.

“The administration opposes those provisions that limit access to non-covered reproductive healthcare by servicemembers and their families, impede the ability of all servicemembers to serve to their fullest capacity, and undermine the United States’ ability to fight foreign adversary disinformation,” the White House statement Monday said. “Including divisive policy provisions within an appropriations bill also dramatically increases the threat of a continuing resolution, which would further damage America’s national security.”

Since it’s introduction in July, House Republicans have made several changes to the $886 billion defense bill, including repealing the DOD’s abortion travel policy, which reimburses military members for any costs when traveling to a state to get an abortion where the procedure is legal.

Republicans have also excluded initiatives the Biden Administration wanted to include, such as prohibiting the Defense Department from providing sex-change surgeries and gender hormone treatments for transgender military personnel.

The White House condemned the GOP’s changes to the bill, claiming the new proposal is unfair to the LGBTQ community and would make “deep cuts to climate change and clean energy programs.”

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