Military gets largest pay raise in nearly a decade

Thousands of military personnel in the Dayton region are set to get their biggest pay raise in nearly a decade after president Donald Trump on Friday signed a $854-billion spending bill into law.

Service members, including around 15,000 or so people at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, will get a 2.6 percent raise.

In total, Wright-Patt employs around 27,000 people, 12,000 of which are federal civilian workers, according to the office of U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton. The base, which is estimated to have a $4.2-billion annual economic impact, is Ohio’s largest single site employer.

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Trump reportedly signed the legislation to fund the military and government without journalists present at the White House. The bill contained around $675 billion for the armed forces and another $180 billion for the U.S. departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.

While a little more than half of Wright-Patt’s workforce could be getting a raise, its 12,000 civilian workers may not.

Last month, Trump announced that he would cancel a scheduled 1.9 percent pay raise for federal civilian workers to deal with rising federal deficits for 2019. The cancelled pay increases would cost $25 billion, Trump has said.

Between the Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the U.S. Post Office and Wright-Patt, there are over 15,000 federal civilian workers in the Dayton region, according to Turner’s office. Trump’s threat to cancel the raise was criticized by several congressional members and candidates.

The spending bill pushes off the threat of a government shutdown until Dec. 7, eliminating it as a potential issue for the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Its passage also means the military will be fully funded before the start of the new fiscal year for the first time in 10 years. The legislation “ensures” that service members will “get the funding they need on time,” Turner said in a prepared statement.

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“After years of harmful sequestration and continuing resolutions, I am thrilled Congress has sent DoD appropriations to the President’s desk on time this year,” said Turner, who serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces. “Year after year, hearing after hearing, we are briefed on the potential devastating impact on our military when Congress doesn’t do its job.”

Turner is up for re-election to his House seat this November. His opponent in Ohio’s 10th Congressional District is Democrat Theresa Gasper, who praised the bill’s pay raises for military members.

“I am encouraged that the bill will provide a much-needed raise to hardworking men and women in the military,” she said in a prepared statement.

The president signed off on the bill after the House and Senate approved the spending plan earlier this week. But he has expressed frustration that the bill doesn’t pay for his long-stalled wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump’s signature comes just one week after he signed legislation authorizing the first installment for the $182-million expansion of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patt. The intelligence agency analyzes air, space, and cyber threats, such as ballistic missile capabilities, and provides findings to the nation’s political and military leaders.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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