Veterans and employee groups decried the pay decision as meager.Now, if the consumer price index goes up more than 2.2 percent (which it will), then Congress just lowered military members' buying power.
"We're extremely disappointed, to put it mildly, that Congress couldn't see its way clear to provide more than a 2.2 percent pay raise for the troops who are putting their lives on the line every day for the rest of America," said Steve Strobridge , director of government relations for the Military Officers Association of America.
"That's the smallest military raise in 13 years," he noted.
So, what is important to the Republican-controlled Congress?
Even as the Bush administration urges Americans to stay the course in Iraq, Republicans in Congress have put down a quiet marker in the apparent hope that V-I Day might be only months away.Support the troops, bitches!
Tucked away in fine print in the military spending bill for this past year was a lump sum of $20 million to pay for a celebration in the nation's capital "for commemoration of success" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Not surprisingly, the money was not spent.
Now Congressional Republicans are saying, in effect, maybe next year. A paragraph written into spending legislation and approved by the Senate and House allows the $20 million to be rolled over into 2007.