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Biden Faces GOP Backlash Over Opposition to Troop Pay Raise

Republicans decry Biden's stance against boosting military pay amid rising food insecurity among troops.

House Republicans have sharply criticized President Biden for opposing their proposed 19.5% pay raise for low-ranking military personnel in the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The White House's recent statement opposing the pay increase has sparked outrage among GOP members who argue that the raise is essential for supporting junior enlisted service members struggling with low wages and food insecurity.

Key Points of Contention:

  • Biden's Opposition: The White House argues against making significant changes to the basic pay schedule before the completion of the Fourteenth Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC). This stance has frustrated Republicans who see the pay raise as a necessary and urgent measure.

  • Current Military Pay and Food Insecurity: According to The Daily Mail, some early-career enlisted service members earn as little as $24,000 annually, not including housing allowances and free healthcare. The proposed House plan would raise their minimum pay to $30,000 per year. Notably, the US Department of Agriculture reports that one-quarter of the military population experienced food insecurity between 2018 and 2020.

  • GOP Outrage: Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) criticized Biden's opposition, highlighting his own experience as a Navy SEAL, where his family relied on WIC coupons. He called the White House's stance "disgusting and reprehensible." Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) echoed these sentiments, labeling the decision as "completely insane" and politically damaging.

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) didn't mince words either, describing Biden's opposition as "one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard come out of [Biden’s] mouth." He emphasized the dire situation of many military personnel, particularly in high-cost areas like DC and San Diego, who rely on food banks to make ends meet.

  • Trump's Involvement: Former President Donald Trump discussed the issue with House Republicans, emphasizing that military pay should be a priority. Trump highlighted the discrepancy between the wages of low-ranking troops and minimum wage workers, questioning why the military should be left behind.

Garcia pointed out the stark reality: “This is a pay raise targeted at the E1 through E4 level, who are currently making literally $12 an hour, right now, which in California is about half of what the fast food workers make at McDonald’s.”

  • White House Priorities: The administration's statement also expressed concerns about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. They argued that limiting DEI initiatives would hinder the Department of Defense and other federal agencies' ability to maintain a diverse and capable workforce.

As tensions rise over this critical issue, the GOP's push for better compensation for low-ranking troops underscores the broader debate about military funding and support. The clash highlights a fundamental difference in priorities, with Republicans focusing on immediate pay raises and the administration emphasizing a broader review and DEI efforts.

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