The House Armed Services Committee adopted the massive, essential military policy package, including the benefit, of bringing bonuses to assist low-paid service personnel deal with rising consumer prices one step closer to reality.
In its first meeting of the new year, the committee approved the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, the comprehensive annual bill that lays out a wide range of defense policies and determines the Pentagon budget. California Representative Ro Khanna was the lone "no" vote.
Military personnel and Defense Department employees making under $45,000 yearly would receive the 2.4 percent "inflation bonuses." Throughout 2023, the incentives would be paid in stages every month. Additionally, the measure made significant changes to how sexual harassment cases will be prosecuted, greater federal control over the National Guard, and the establishment of a Space National Guard.
The inflation bonuses were part of a larger amendment to the NDAA that raised the top-line cost of the legislation to about $840 billion by adding $37 billion to the bill's overall cost.
The amendment contains nearly $6 billion for inflation expenditures associated with fuel and military building costs, which was partly done to address the record inflation.
Representative Jared Golden, D-Maine, who is the amendment's chief sponsor, noted that inflation pressures are affecting economies all over the world, making it impossible for our military to invest in new technologies, buy equipment, and pay and support our men and women in uniform, our greatest national security assets.
However, it would also grant billions more than the Biden administration's request to purchase additional ships, planes, and other military equipment.
Even while committee chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., said the amendment had "a lot of nice things," including "several things in here that address inflation for our service people," he and other prominent Democrats opposed it.
However, 14 moderate Democrats backed the amendment, which the committee approved 42–17.
Before becoming law, the bill still needs to be approved by the entire House and reconciled with the NDAA as it is now written in the Senate, which does not include the inflation bonuses.