Biden signed the new NDAA Defense policy bill that contains a 2.7% pay raise for military service members. Congress must now pass an appropriations bill to finance it. Separately, the annual cost-of-living adjustment (CONUS COLA) for 48.000 stateside troops has been cut.
Pay raise, pay cut all at the same time
Though the stipend is typically very small, it is just enough to help families stationed in expensive cities. The cut will affect troops in Washington DC and Boston, as well as 13 other metropolitan cities and 21 nonmetropolitan counties across the country.
A location becomes eligible for COLA when non-housing costs exceed 8% above the national average.
Among the locations that were cut in 2022 is the Washington, D.C., area, where troops had received a 1% supplement in 2021. Stipends for troops in Boston and Worcester, Mass., also got the ax.
Troops located in New York City will receive the highest stipend at 6%, which is down from 7% in 2021.
How much COLA a service member earns depends on geographic duty location, pay grade, years of service, and dependency status. The Pentagon explained that monthly payments for each CONUS COLA percentage point vary from $33 to $59 per month for troops with dependents, and from $22 to $45 per month for those without dependents.
A federal contractor examines the cost of living in each area where troops are deployed stateside. In the case of 2022, only $8.5 million was allotted for the stipend, so cuts were made. About 6,000 troops will still receive the money.
I think we can add this to the long list of grievances that we have with the Biden administration and how they have dealt with our service members.
Now we have our service members once more sacrificing, putting their families out here and the federal government sending them to these very expensive cities – and now removing a very small stipend…
The cost of living is so much higher and this particular stipend, although small, covers non-housing expenses, food, energy, gas, all of which are a direct result of the failed policies of this administration.
US Veteran Kathy Barnette, candidate for US Senate for Pennsylvania
The Housing allowances have been temporarily increased slightly amid an extremely tight housing market. In addition, steps have reportedly been taken to assist military families with food shortages. The NDAA contains a “basic needs allowance” for military members who don’t make enough to support their families.
Military members and their families being so totally dependent on the Federal government at a time when it is in such disarray is extremely unfortunate. If we’d stop paying for illegals, perhaps our military members could get a higher pay raise?
We can all stand up here on the Senate floor and back at home, declaring our unwavering support for our troops and their families, and claiming to support a strong national defense, but until we put our money where our mouth is and provide the funding we say we support, those words ring hollow.
Senator Patrick Leahy D-VT, Senate Appropriations Committee (Stripes)
- The New NDAA Passed Congress on a Bipartisan Vote
- House Passed NDAA 2022 – Without Red Flag Provision
- Military Red Flag Clause in NDAA
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