Military troops will see a 3.1% pay raise in 2020, thanks to a continuing resolution passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump on November 21. However, a government shutdown is still possible should spending bill negotiations deteriorate.
In addition to securing this pay raise, the resolution also funds the US government through December 20. Funds in this bill will extend expiring health care programs and allow the Census Bureau to prepare for the 2020 census.
Continuing Resolutions Secures Troops 3.1% Pay Raise in 2020
In addition to this pay raise, troops are also expected to see a general increase in BAH rates as well. Across all services, BAH rates should increase between 3.4% and 3.9% generally. Rates will vary by location. Service members should check their specific BAH rates.
Continuing Resolution Funds Government Again
The most recent continuing resolution is the latest in a series of stop-gap measures designed to keep the government running. This funding bill runs out on December 20, which might result in another government shutdown.
Lawmakers have continued to negotiate 12 spending bills to fund the fiscal year 2020. Included in this omnibus spending package are additional funds for Trump’s border wall and a proposed 2020 pay increase for federal workers.
Negotiations over these spending bills are competing for time with Trump’s ongoing impeachment inquiry, as well as a renegotiated trade deal with Mexico and Canada. This is in addition to the normal volume of bills and resolutions that Congress considers daily.
Should these funding packages fail to pass the Senate, House or be signed by Trump, the US government could face another shutdown. Legislators narrowly avoided another government shutdown in August 2019 when they negotiated a spending bill to continue operating.
The last, and longest ever, government shutdown occurred between December 21, 2018 and January 25, 2019. Congress and the president failed to agree to a funding bill by the deadline. Negotiations over funding of Trump’s border wall with Mexico were cited as a key reason for this shutdown.
As a result of the 2018-2019 shutdown, many federal employees and contractors were furloughed. Many continued to report for work even without receiving paychecks. Federal exempt workers received back pay; contract employees did not.
In addition, food stamps and other social support programs went without funding, impacting families. National parks saw natural and historic resources destroyed due to understaffing as a result of the shutdown.
Will a Shutdown Impact My Military Raise?
Short answer, no. Your pay raise is secured as part of the most recent continuing resolution passed by Trump and Congress in November 2019. However, your pay increase may be delayed should a shutdown occur.
Other agencies and operations associated with the Department of Defense, including the VA, should continue to operate as usual. Some decreased staffing may occur, with percentages of staff reporting for work varying by position and agency.
Troops serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines should expect to receive their regularly scheduled paychecks on time, albeit possibly without the anticipated 3.1% raise. Those serving in the Coast Guard may not receive paychecks. During the last government shutdown, the Coast Guard was the only branch of the military to remain on duty and unpaid.
In addition, other services related to military life have a high likelihood of being negatively impacted by pending government shutdown:
- CDCs: closing is a base-by-base decision
- Commissaries: remain open OCONUS, in remote areas; scheduled closing stateside to ensure perishables are sold safely
- Furloughs: some federal employees will be placed in a non-work, non-pay status during a shutdown
- Healthcare: some appointments and elective procedures may be rescheduled
- PCS & TDY: orders to move to a new duty station or assume temporary duties may be canceled or paused due to funding
- Death gratuities: families of troops killed during a furlough would not receive the $100,000 death benefit, military-funded travel arrangements for funerals
Military families should consider how their lives, and paychecks, might be impacted by a government shutdown and prepare accordingly.