Poll: Troops oppose cuts to their pay, benefits

 

An overwhelming majority of active duty service members object to the Pentagon’s efforts to rein in spending by curbing future pay raises and requiring troops to pay more out of pocket for healthcare and housing, a new Military.com poll shows.

Roughly 90 percent of the 2,000 active duty members polled said they opposed cutting next year’s pay raise from 1.7 percent to 1 percent. And 94 percent said they were against an initiative that would require troops to pay up to five percent of their housing costs, according to the survey.

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Defense Department officials have argued that troop benefits consume more of the department’s budget every year and that reform is needed in order to stave off potential cuts to training and weapons systems programs.

Not surprisingly, troops don’t support cutting their own pay and benefits.

More than of 80 percent of those who participated said they disagreed with cutting subsidies for commissaries. Under the Pentagon’s plan, prices at military commissaries could jump by as much as 20 percent and shutter some stateside locations.

Around 77 percent of troops said they opposed any attempt to transform TRICARE, the health plan for military families

In its markup of the annual defense authorization bill last week, the House Armed Services Military Personnel subcommittee ignored the Defense Department’s request to alter troop benefits. The panel was silent on the pay issue. 

The full House Armed Services Committee is scheduled to take up the legislation on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday will hear testimony from all the military service chiefs to examine troop compensation proposals.