Military Set to Receive 2.6% Raise, Not the 10% Promised by President Trump

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Military Set to Receive 2.6% Raise, Not the 10% Promised by President Trump
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Military Set to Receive 2.6% Raise, Not the 10% Promised by President Trump
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During his recent trip to Iraq, President Trump delivered a speech to US military personnel. During the speech, the president touched on numerous topics, including his recent decision to withdraw troops from Syria. However, it was his comments regarding a pay raise for the soldiers that garnered a significant amount of attention after the speech. President Trump claimed to have secured the troops a pay increase of over 10%, which turned out to be extremely inaccurate.

Here is what the president said during his speech:

“..you just got one of the biggest pay raises you’ve ever received … You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years — more than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. I got you a big one.”

“They had plenty of people that came up. They said, ‘You know, we could make it smaller. We could make it 3 percent. We could make it 2 percent. We could make it 4 percent.’ I said, ‘No.  Make it 10 percent. Make it more than 10 percent.’ Because it’s been a long time. It’s been more than 10 years. It’s been more than 10 years.”

President Trump’s claim that the military has not received a raise in over ten years is untrue. US military personnel have received pay raises each year for over thirty years. Military pay increases are mandated by federal law, and are generally determined by an automatic adjustment based on the Employment Cost Index.

This year’s increase of 2.6% is not even the highest pay raise received by military personnel in the past ten years. The military received larger pay raises in 2008, 2009, and 2010. In fact, in 2018, the White House requested a pay raise for military personnel below the automatic adjustment. However, that decision was overridden by congress.

The president does have the ability to specify an alternative pay adjustment that supersedes the automatic adjustment. Although, the 2019 defense budget has already been approved by congress and signed by the president, making any adjustments to the 2.6% raise highly unlikely. Even if President Trump had specified a 10% raise for troops, Congress can pass legislation that would supersede the president’s adjustment.

If the president had specified a raise of 10% for the military, and congress rejected the adjustment, at least the president could say he tried. That was not the case, however. President Trump did not use the power of the presidency to increase the pay of military personnel by 10%, like he could have, and it’s unfortunate he chose to make those comments while visiting the soldiers in Iraq.

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