The military is getting a pay raise next year, but not as big of a bump as they were expecting.
President Barack Obama announced plans to raise military salaries by 1.6 percent in 2017. But while that pay increase will be higher than the 1 percent increase he approved for civilian employees in the federal government, it is still lower than the 2.1 percent raise service members were supposed to receive under current law, which matches soldiers' pay raise to the expected increase in private sector wages.
"I am strongly committed to supporting our uniformed service members, who have made such great contributions to our nation over more than a decade of war," Obama wrote in a letter to Congress, according to Military.com. "As our country continues to recover from serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare, however, we must maintain efforts to keep our nation on a sustainable fiscal course. This effort requires tough choices, especially in light of budget constraints."
The pay rates go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.
Currently, basic pay for active duty privates in the U.S. Army is $18,802.80 per year, according to the Army's website. That works out to just over $9 an hour based on a 40-hour work week over an entire year. That is more than the current Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, but less than what many argue is a livable wage to support a family. Many Democrats, most notably former 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, have argued for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour — fast food workers across the country have been fighting for such a raise.
Many critics also argue that the government shortchanges soldiers yet again after they return from active duty. A glaring percentage of U.S. Army veterans end up in poverty or homeless and the suicide rate among vets has skyrocketed in recent years. Both GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton have promised significant reform to the treatment of veterans in the country.