The House Appropriations Committee is looking into minimum wage salaries for all service members. As part of the proposed FY 2022 Defense Budget Bill, Representative Mike Garcia introduced language that would ensure all service members have a base pay of about $15 an hour. This would be for a 40-hour day estimation. We know as military family members that the work week is often much more than 40 hours, and much longer when they are deployed on a ship or overseas.
Base pay for military members is just that, base pay. The base pay does not consider Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) or Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) which is provided as a means to offset the service members’ meals and housing respectively. When these figures are included, plus special and incentive pays like flying duty, parachuting duty, or diving duty, the total pay for service members is higher. However, according to Representative Garcia, past studies from the Government Accountability Office indicate that over 20,000 military families qualify for food stamp assistance. Given this large number of families needing assistance, Representative Garcia stated “If the government is paying for these service members to be on food stamps, we may as well be paying them through the base pay or sustenance allowance on the front end.”
The debate among the committee included concern that the verbiage of the increased hourly rate of $15 would have to include contractor employees as well as active duty military. The House Armed Services Committee members have pledged to hold discussions on the pay matter in the future. There is no current timeline for discussions.
This discussion will be monitored and updated. Sign up for updates from the House Armed Services Committee here.