The report came out less than two months after President Obama proposed a two-year pay freeze for about 1.9 million federal workers, a freeze that is now in effect. At the time, Hoyer said freezing military pay would add an "element of fairness" to the proposal, although he said he does not favor a pay freeze for "members of our military and civilian employees risking their lives on our behalf in Afghanistan, Iraq, and anywhere else they are serving in harm's way."

The CBO report acknowledged the difficulties in comparing military and civilian government pay. The report says compensation is made up of cash, noncash benefits such as health insurance and child care, and deferred benefits like pensions. For the purpose of the report, CBO compared only cash compensation and found military compensation to be higher. It also noted that based on prior studies, noncash and deferred benefits "are also higher for military personnel than for federal civilian workers."