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Biden Admin Shoots Down $24 Billion Pay Raise For Enlisted Troops — After Spending Seven Times More On Ukraine

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The Biden administration “strongly opposes” a proposal to raise the pay of junior enlisted service members in the military — even after nearly spending seven times the proposed amount on Ukraine and the broader region’s security.

The House Armed Services Committee’s (HASC) draft of the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would give all junior troops a pay raise, representing a rough total of $24.4 billion over five years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The Biden administration said in a statement on Tuesday that it does not support the proposed “significant, permanent” pay hike until it has had a chance to conduct a compensation review.

“The Administration is strongly committed to taking care of our Servicemembers and their families, and appreciates the Committee’s concern for the needs of the most junior enlisted members, but strongly opposes making a significant, permanent change to the basic pay schedule before the completion of the Fourteenth Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation,” the White House budget office said.

The Biden administration has spent over $175 billion on aid to Ukraine and European security since 2022 — roughly one-seventh of the proposed pay hike for the junior troops, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. The $175 billion amount is broken into several packages over the course of two years, including the most recent aid packageof $61 billion in April.

“When accounting for inflation, the average American makes less today than when Joe Biden took office. The White House wants to block Republicans from giving our troops the raise they need to make ends meet in the Biden economy,” Republican Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, a HASC member, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Meanwhile, they’ve sent the Ukrainian government $11,500 per Ukrainian household. It’s shameful.”

Bipartisan members of the HASC promoted the pay increase for junior troops as a way to improve recruiting and retention, a problem that the military has increasingly struggled with. A year-long study conducted by the HASC and published in April found that “servicemembers, especially junior enlisted servicemembers and servicemembers supporting large families, struggle to afford housing and feed their families.”

The pay level for junior troops has failed to remain competitive with the civilian job market, especially with rising inflation, the study found. Junior troops received smaller pay raises than senior servicemembers — or no raise at all — in eight of the last 40 years.

“Joe Biden must hate our military,” Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, also on the committee, told the DCNF. “While families of our junior enlisted struggle on food stamps, this administration opposes their pay raises and wants to force-feed them pronoun training and drag queen story hour. If Biden had any PRIDE at all in our troops, he’d support the long overdue pay raise House Republicans have passed.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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