While the President is pushing the nation to get involved in an al-Qaeda backed civil war in Syria, he has simultaneously bypassed Congress and cut the recommended 1.8 pay raise hike by almost half for the military.
In the midst of discussion about launching a U.S. military strike on Syria, President Obama moved Friday to reduce the size of January’s military raise.
Instead of the 1.8 percent raise due troops under a federal pay formula, Obama notified Congress he is exercising his powers as the government’s pay agent to cap the Jan. 1 increase at 1 percent.
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The announcement came at 5 p.m. at the start of the Labor Day weekend after the news had been dominated for days about how the U.S. should respond to apparent use of chemical weapons against civilians by the government of Syria.
The pay decision is not unexpected and is not final, but it may diminish some support for a bigger military raise.
Obama’s 2014 defense budget sent to Congress in February included a 1 percent pay increase, a recommendation endorsed by the Senate Armed Services Committee but opposed by the House of Representatives. The defense authorization and appropriations bills approved by the House include the 1.8 percent across-the-board raise, the amount called for under the Federal Pay Comparability Act requiring raises to keep pace with private-sector wages.
You read that last part correctly – the President’s move violates the Federal Pay Comparability Act and is therefore a violation of federal law.
NewsMax explains how he gets around it:
The president’s move will negatively impact American combat troops scheduled to remain in Afghanistan through 2014.
The federal law says 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. Under that formula, military personnel should be getting a 1.8 percent pay raise beginning in January 2014, CNS News reported.
But 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.”
Obama can find ways to circumvent federal law to slash pay raises for our military, but he can’t find a way to slash the number of vacations he and his family take during a calendar year.