As President Barack Obama prepares his speech to the American people this Tuesday night, it has now been revealed to Congress he will cap next year's pay raise for U.S. military personnel at 1 percent instead of boosting pay by 1.8 percent as called for by a federal law.
This comes to light as Obama is asking our military to yet again prepare for a mission of war in the Middle East to risk life and limb possibly this time being a suicide mission in Syria.
Obviously such news will be demoralizing to every single person in the nation’s military and could negatively impact American combat troops scheduled to remain in Afghanistan through 2014.
Under federal law, it reads that “military pay raises must be based on the Employment Cost Index compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which ties military raises to private sector pay growth.”
That would mean that military personnel should be getting a 1.8 percent pay raise beginning in January 2014. That is the law at present.
However, Obama has a way out since the law also states that “the president can inform Congress of an alternative pay adjustment if because of national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare, the president considers the pay adjustment which would otherwise be required by this section in any year to be inappropriate."
It seems that the president’s decision is ill-timed in lieu of the many sacrifices the military are undertaking currently and will do him little good convincing members of Congress to approve his ideas of an attack on Syria.
In an open letter to congressional leaders, the president wrote, "I am strongly committed to supporting our uniformed service members, who have made such great contributions to our nation over the past decade of war. As our country continues to recover from serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare, however, we must maintain efforts to keep our nation on a sustainable fiscal course."
It’s hard to understand the president’s action when the House passed a bill in July authorizing the 1.8 percent raise. The Senate however set the raise at 1 percent as recommended by Obama.
It is an historical fact that when Congress begins placing caps on military pay increases that is below private-sector growth, it not only weakens the nation’s military readiness but retention of present personnel and future recruits.
Sometimes it is difficult to figure out who is advising the president to make these sorts of hugely unpopular and unnecessary decisions. Especially in these trying times when the nation leans heavily on the military and its ongoing morale.
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