Speaker Boehner fights for military pay raise

Congressional Democrats must make a pay raise for U.S. military members a priority in FY2016 defense appropriations and stop another potential shutdown of the federal government, said Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio).

“Democrats are threatening to block a pay raise for our troops because they want more money for things like the EPA,” Boehner wrote this month on his Facebook page.

And what the Environmental Protection Agency actually needs is more accountability, not more money, the speaker Tweeted June 23.

In turn, the House this week plans to consider its seventh appropriations measure, the Interior and Environment funding bill, H.R. 2822, “to help rein in the EPA’s regulatory spree,” Boehner said.

Specifically, the bill would cut the EPA’s budget by 9 percent and it contains several provisions designed to counteract forthcoming
EPA plans, including provisions that would:

• Protect some 300,000 jobs at U.S. power plants;
• Prevent costly and duplicative regulations on hydraulic fracturing;
• Prohibit forward motion on the administration’s draft ozone regulation;
• Prevent changes to the stream buffer zone rule that would cost thousands of coal-mining jobs; and
• Reject the administration’s proposed increase in oil and gas inspection fees.

But if Democrats don’t get what they want, Boehner said in a blog earlier this week, then “they are willing to block funding for everything else – including a pay raise for our troops.”

In fact, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the House floor June 10, “We’re headed for another shutdown. Lock it up. Close up government.”

“Democrats are willing to stop at nothing to get what they want,” Boehner said. “It is shameful.”

The House passed its FY2016 Department of Defense Appropriations bill last week that would provide $490.2 billion for the DoD’s base budget and more than $88 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations during FY2016. President Obama requested almost $51 billion for OCO.

Additionally, the House bill would fund a 2.3 percent military pay raise that is authorized in the House-passed FY 2016 Defense Authorization bill. The president’s budget requests a 1.3 percent pay raise.

“It’s time for President Obama and Democrats in Congress to put our troops first, and quit playing politics with the security of our nation,” Boehner said.

Currently, the House has passed six of the 12 FY2016 appropriations bills; three bills in-waiting have been passed by the House Appropriations Committee. The Senate, meanwhile, has not yet considered any appropriations bill.