A bill passed this month by the GOP-led Senate Appropriations Committee, which would give member of U.S. military their largest pay raise in almost a decade, will now go to the full Senate.
According to The Atlanta Journal Constitution, the legislation, approved by the committee on Sept. 12, also includes funding for research into advanced weapons.
“Governing is about setting priorities, and this bill shows our priority is the men and women who serve in our armed forces,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, a member of the Appropriations Committee, said in a statement.
“This funding bill provides a total of $694.9 billion for our national defense, a $20.5 billion increase over fiscal year 2019.”
The legislation “will provide a 3.1 percent pay raise for service members, the largest increase since 2010,” the statement read.
“This bill includes a record level of funding for defense research and development — which will ensure that the United States has an advantage over our adversaries and allows us to maintain the strongest military in the world,” Alexander continued.
“This bill also includes more than $850 million to ensure the men and women serving in our National Guard have the resources they need to keep our country safe during catastrophes, and increased funding for hypersonic research. Finally, the bill also includes a program to help military spouses find good paying jobs.”
There were plenty of other big ticket item in the bill beyond support for the men and women who serve the country, obviously.
The bill also includes money for a nuclear arsenal modernization program as well as funds for “hypersonics research, technological research, and medical research.”
Additional money for hypersonics research — research into weapons and aircraft that travel at more than five times the speed of sound — could be seen as a shot across the bow at China and Russia, both of which have made serious advancements in hypersonic missile technology.
The bill also allocates “$1.7 billion in emergency spending to support disaster recovery for those affected by hurricanes, flooding and earthquakes earlier this year.”
More than $850 million would be spent on modernizing equipment for the National Guard and reserve forces, as well.
Should the bill pass the full Senate and the House, it would be a major victory for the Republicans, particularly given the biggest raise for our troops since early in the Obama administration.
GOP Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who sits on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Defense, described the forthcoming bill last week as a win for his constituents.
“The number one priority of the Congress is to make sure our nation’s armed forces have the tools they need to carry out their missions,” Blunt said in a statement.
“This bill prioritizes resources for equipment, training, and research to ensure our military has every advantage on the battlefield,” he added.
“By providing the largest military pay raise in a decade, this bill will help us honor the men and women who selflessly put themselves in harm’s way to keep our nation safe. In addition, this bill makes investments in Missouri’s military installations to support the vital role they play in our nation’s defense.”
It’s not just going to be Missouri.
Given what they’re tasked with, a major raise for the troops is well overdue.
The fact it’ll help shore up the conservative base — who now as ever are hawkish on defense and supportive of the military — is just an added bonus for Republican legislators.