The American Legion's new national commander, Michael D. Helm, took issue with President Barack Obama's support for a 1-percent pay raise in 2015 for members of the armed forces.
Elected for a one-year term during the Legion's 96th Annual National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., last month, Helm expressed disappointment over the paltry pay increase.
"With a war in Afghanistan, boots back on the ground in Iraq, and ISIS on the loose in the Middle East, is a 1-percent salary raise really the best we can do for the men and women we expect to meet those challenges?" Helm asked.
According to data released Aug. 19 by the federal government, the country's inflation rate has stood at 2 percent for the past 12 months. While the White House wants to cap the military's basic pay increase at 1 percent, Congress could appropriate a larger increase, Helm said.
"We are well aware of the budgetary constraints our government is operating under," Helm said. "We are also aware of the fact that America's servicemembers received only a 1-percent increase last year – the lowest since the all-volunteer force was created.
"The American Legion wants the White House and Congress to agree on a pay raise for our troops that keeps up with the inflation rate – that means 2 percent. It is the least we can do, even in these trying fiscal times, to maintain a decent quality of life for our servicemembers."
New data on the country's inflation rate is scheduled to be released by the federal government on Sept. 17.