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Supplemental Signed, Funds Current Ops, FY 2000 Pay Hike

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 26, 1999 – The emergency supplemental bill signed May 21 by President Clinton contains $1.8 billion for military pay raises and retirement reform, but don't expect an increase in your paychecks until Jan. 1, 2000.

That's still the date for a military pay raise, said congressional officials. The act also contains emergency funding through fiscal 1999 for Operation Allied Force, Operation Desert Fox and humanitarian efforts. The House and Senate appropriations committees overwhelmingly passed the measure May 14.

The military pay increase in the act is set at 4.4 percent, just as in the president's fiscal 2000 defense budget request. Pay table reform, giving larger raises for longevity as a retention incentive, is in the act and will take effect July 1, 2000. Military retirement reform is also included and will replace the Redux system of 40 percent of base pay after 20 years of service with a system that offers 50 percent of base pay after 20.

While the emergency supplemental appropriates money for the pay raises, DoD still does not have permission -- the authorization -- to spend it. The Fiscal 2000 Defense Authorization Bill must be passed by Congress and signed by the president before this money can be spent.

The House and Senate armed services committees handle authorizations. Both sides of Congress have agreed on a military pay raise of 4.8 percent. If this authorization passes, Congress will have to appropriate more money to make up the .4 percent difference or DoD will have to find money in-house. Defense Secretary William S. Cohen has said making DoD make up the difference will cripple military operations and readiness and military modernization efforts.

The president originally requested $6 billion in emergency funds for Allied Force, refugee assistance and Desert Fox. DoD was to have received $5.5 billion of that. Congress approved his request and added $5 billion more.

Besides $1.8 billion for the pay raises and reforms, Congress added $2.25 billion for operations and maintenance accounts, $100 million for recruiting, $300 million for procurement, $250 million to replace expended munitions, and $475 million for military construction projects.

Congress approved $819 million for refugee assistance funds spread over DoD, the State Department, the Agency for International Development and the Department of Health and Human Services. The president had requested $566 million.

The representatives and senators also approved $250 million for Coast Guard pay and Coast Guard operations and maintenance. Non- DoD items comprised the balance of the emergency spending measure, including programs of the Agriculture and Interior departments and aid programs for Central American and Caribbean nations.

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