Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, called for a pay raise for service members Tuesday during the House Appropriations Committee markup of the Department of Defense 2022 bill.
Garcia offered an amendment that would require that the secretary of defense increase base pay to ensure that all service members are making at least $15 per hour, the equivalent of $31,200 per year, in base pay.
“I personally think it is a travesty and an insult to our military members and their families that they have to serve approximately three years and gain the rank of E4 before they are at or above what many states consider to be minimum wage,” he said during the hearing. “And that assumes they are working 40 hours a week, which we know most of our junior enlisted members are actually not, they are usually working anywhere from 50-60 hours a week given the operational tempo.”
While Garcia’s amendment was not included in the current legislation, Garcia secured the commitment from Subcommittee on Defense Chairwoman Betty McCollum, D-Minnesota, that she would create a working group to find a way to address the necessary military pay raise in conference negotiations with the Senate.
Garcia’s office said he will continue to advocate for a pay raise for service members and work in Congress to ensure it is secured in the final 2022 Defense Appropriations bill.