Lawmakers Approve 2.6 Percent Troop Pay Raise

An icy fog cloaking the Capitol begins to give way to the morning sun in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
An icy fog cloaking the Capitol begins to give way to the morning sun in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A panel of House and Senate lawmakers on Monday reached a deal on a massive defense policy bill that includes a 2.6 percent pay raise for service members and an increase in troops, equipment and weapons for the Defense Department.

Senate and House Armed Services Committee staffers, who spoke with reporters on the condition of anonymity, said Monday that the National Defense Authorization Act, or H.R. 2810, will also address a series of other matters, including the next step in creating a space force and authorization for a military parade in November.

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The House began debating the negotiated deal, known as the NDAA conference report, Monday night. The effort could draw a vote in the lower chamber as early as this week.

"This legislation will strengthen our military's readiness, provide our troops a pay raise, support effective implementation of the National Defense Strategy, drive further innovation in emerging technologies to secure our military advantage and continue to reform the Department of Defense," Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., respectively the chairman, ranking Democratic member and a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a joint statement Monday.

The move signals the 2019 defense bill remains on track for on-time passage by Oct. 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

"This House is committed to rebuilding our military and ensuring our brave men and women in uniform have the equipment and training they need to successfully carry out their mission," said House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. "I look forward to another big bipartisan vote."

With a two-year spending deal that lifts budget caps already in place, mid-term elections this fall and a more experienced administration, lawmakers are eager to pass the 2019 NDAA earlier than in recent years.

Earlier this year, a budget deal allowed Congress to increase defense spending to $716 billion for 2019.

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