Davids votes against pay raise for military

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kansas 3rd DistrictCongresswoman Sharice Davids voted against a pay raise of nearly 20% for junior military enlisted personnel and other financial benefits Friday0 in a comprehensive military pay bill which also restricted military funding for abortions and curtailed diversity, equity and inclusion instruction in military base schools.

Kansas 3rd District Congresswoman Sharice Davids

David’s office did not reply to emails from the Review over the weekend seeking comment regarding her vote.

House Bill 8070 was designed to bump up the financial offerings to current military service members in the face of 40-year high inflation over the past three years of the Biden Administration. The measure passed the House by a vote of 217 to 199. Six Democrats voted with the majority Republicans to pass the bill, which now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Lt. Col. Christopher Collins, the Kansas City Recruiting Battalion commander, speaks to Army recruits on Aug. 18, 2022, in St. Joseph, Missouri. (Spc. Alvin Conley/Army)

If approved in its current version, the bill would raise junior enlisted personnel salaries about 20%, along with a 5% pay raise for all other service members. The measure also included expanding service members’ housing allowance and improving the cost of living calculation used in military budgeting. 

Military compensation is a fairly complex calculation of salary as well as allowances for housing, subsistence and federal tax advantages, as well as discount-price retail purchases available to service members at base PX (post exchanges). A single, 18 year-old enlisted military member at the entry-level pay grade of E-1 will earn a little over $24,000 per year, but housing allowances, health care and other benefits combined with salary equate to a value of some $43,500 per year, Army officials say.

New York Post graphic

The move comes as the U.S. military is missing its recruiting targets to restaff ranks now being depleted by attrition and retirements. During fiscal year 2023, the U.S. Defense department says the military services missed recruiting goals by a cumulative 41,000 recruits. It missed its targets in 2022 by about 15,000.

Congresswoman Davids did not serve in the U.S. Military, but frequently touts the Army service of her mother as a veteran during Davids’ formative years. Davids is the sole Democrat serving among the Kansas congressional delegation. Congressmen Tracey Mann, Jake LaTurner and Ron Estes all voted in favor of the measure.

Dane Hicks is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He is the author of novels "The Skinning Tree" and "A Whisper For Help." As publisher of the Anderson County Review in Garnett, KS., he is a recipient of the Kansas Press Association's Boyd Community Service Award as well as more than 60 awards for excellence in news, editorial and photography.