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Rep. Patrick Murphy’s Troop Pay Raise Bill

Rep. Patrick Murphy (PA-08) speaks on the House floor to urge passage of his resolution to raise the pay of the U.S. Armed Forces by 3.5%. Rep. Murphy is a former U.S. Army Captain and Iraq war veteran and his resolution — H.Con. Res. 162 — has 59 bipartisan co-sponsors. In his floor speech, Murphy calls on President Bush to drop his opposition to this pay increase while citing the pay gap between civilian life and military life, and the fact that our military is overstretched. Despite both House and Senate authorization for this 3.5% pay increase, President Bush has called it “unnecessary.” Murphy’s resolution will express the sense of the House that that Congress and the president should raise basic pay for all components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard by 3.5%.

Rep. Murphy: “And yet, two weeks ago, President Bush said and I quote, ‘America should do what it takes to support our troops.’ The president criticizes the spending priorities of this Congress but stands in the way of a pay increase for our troops. I say the president should do what it takes to support our troops. This pay raise is long overdue and it is necessary and President Bush's opposition to it is simply unconscionable.”

Full Transcript:

I rise alongside my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to say we support a 3.5% pay increase for the brave men and women of our Armed Forces.

Madame Speaker, when I was serving in Baghdad, I fought alongside Specialist Juan Arevalo — or “RV” to his friends and fellow paratroopers.

RV is a quick-witted and fearless Texan who had the trust of everyone in our brigade and would say things to make us laugh or make us think — even during war.

We used to joke that RV signed up for active duty in the Army without even knowing that soldiers got paid.

The joke was that he was so innocent — he thought his only compensation was training, housing and three square meals a day.

Serving in Iraq and making just over $15,000 a year, RV told everybody he was the richest man in Iraq.

Even though RV would have worked for free in our military, he shouldn't have to, and neither should the families who depend on their loved ones overseas.

More than 1.6 million Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Many of them multiple times.

These are the brave men and women whose pay we seek to raise — a pay raise that is long overdue.

Madame Speaker, there are more than three million family members who count on someone serving on active duty in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today, we fight not just for those soldiers, but their families as well.

Our resolution points out that there is currently a 4 percent pay gap between the pay of members of the Armed Forces and those in civilian life.

At a time when our Armed Forces are so stretched thin, we need to offer more comparable pay to the private sector to retain the most qualified servicemen and women.

Our resolution also gives thanks for their valiant service to our nation.

Madame Speaker, this is a common-sense measure, but unfortunately the president called this pay increase “unnecessary.”

And yet, two weeks ago, President Bush said and I quote, “America should do what it takes to support our troops.”

The president criticizes the spending priorities of this Congress but stands in the way of a pay increase for our troops.

I say the president should do what it takes to support our troops.

This pay raise is long overdue and it is necessary and President Bush's opposition to it is simply unconscionable.

Madame Speaker, with a 3.5% increase we aren't talking about a lot of money, but for a private in Iraq making less than $16,000 a year in basic pay — that small increase could make all the difference in the world.

For an enlisted man with bills to pay and young children to support, several hundred dollars a year more is a big deal.

Madame Speaker, before I yield to my colleagues, I want to thank the gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Jones, for his courageous support, Chairman Murtha, Chairman Obey and Chairman Snyder, as well as Chairwoman Davis and Chairman Skelton for their leadership on this issue.

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