Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to advocate for increasing base pay for enlisted service members to a minimum of $31,200 annually, an average of $15 per hour.
“The gap between pay for our troops and their civilian counterparts is at an all-time high. All the while, China has closed the gap against the US in several domains,” Garcia said on the House floor, standing next to a poster board showing the current annual equivalents of the monthly active duty pay for enlisted personnel.
“We need some wins under our belt when it comes to national security and readiness,” Garcia said. “And the men and women in fancy suits in this chamber and in the chamber just 600 feet north of here, need to do the right thing for those military wearing uniforms. Not in five years or even in one year, but this year.
“And the commander in chief just 1.6 miles west of here should support us in this endeavor. I will provide him the tools necessary to do so myself if needed — $31,200 base pay for our enlisted. It’s a doable do, and it’s necessary.”
Garcia said this will remain a top priority for him during the current legislative session.
“It is imperative that as we craft the (National Defense Authorization Act) and Defense Appropriations bills that we adequately address the pay and welfare of our troops, and soon,” he said. “I commit to our enlisted personnel that I will remain your champion in Congress until we get this right. Your nation has neglected you. That ends today.”
To see video of the floor speech, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEeNlPD61XI.