Yesterday, the House passed the Defense Authorization bill, which prescribes spending amounts for the military activities.
The bill includes a section to raise the pay for the soldiers by 3.9 percent – an increase of 0.5 percent over the Bush administration’s request. In a “Statement of Administration Policy” released yesterday, the White House asserts that it “strongly opposes” the pay increase authorized by Congress:
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that the 0.5 percent increase in troop pay would mean spending just an extra $324 million in 2009:
At the same time it is strongly opposing a slight increase in pay for the troops, the Bush administration is asking for hundreds of billions more for war. To put it in all in context, the White House wants $165 billion to continue fighting the Iraq and Afghanistan wars this year, but refuses to spend 0.2 percent of that amount ($324 million) to provide the troops a slight pay raise.
Despite his opposition to a pay increase, President Bush continues to demagogue the issue of support for the troops, telling soldiers at Ft. Drum yesterday that Congress is to blame for not having passed “a responsible war funding bill.” Of course, he didn’t tell that troops that by “responsible,” he means he wants a bill that gives them less pay.