Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, announced Friday that success has been achieved in securing the highest base pay raise in U.S. history for junior enlisted service members.
Raising soldiers’ pay has been a priority for Garcia since he was elected to Congress in 2020.
“I will always fight to protect America’s troops,” Garcia said in a news release announcing that the military pay raise has been included in this year’s Defense Appropriations Bill. “First, it was my honor to protect my fellow soldiers from the cockpit during my time in uniform. Now, it is my privilege to fight for our soldiers and their families in the halls of Congress. That’s why I’m so proud to announce that I’ve secured the largest pay raise for our troops in American history.”
Garcia’s release said the new appropriation will raise junior enlisted service members’ base pay from $23,000 a year to at least $31,200 a year – an average pay raise of 30%.
“The military relies on young Americans to sign up amid many other career opportunities,” Garcia said in the release. “Simply put, it’s unacceptable that these brave men and women – who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of our freedom – are making less than fast food workers. This year’s Defense Appropriations bill now guarantees that every single soldier in our military makes at least $31,200 a year.”
The congressman, a member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said the pay raise is part of a broader effort to support service members’ morale and military readiness at a time when Pentagon leaders have issued guidance to troops on how to cope with inflation eating into their paychecks and Army leaders suggested soldiers and their families consider going on food stamps.
“Let me be clear: This victory is not a cure-all to the ongoing crisis in military recruitment and retention. It’s a much-needed step in the right direction, but President Biden and the Pentagon must do more to support and inspire our troops,” Garcia said in the release. “It’s my commitment to our warfighters and their families that I will never stop working to protect those who do so much to protect us.”
Since January 2021, service members will have received a 3% raise (2021), a 2.7% raise (2022), and a 4.6% raise (2023 projected) – but none of these will let them clear inflation, the release said.