Chairman: Cutting Pay For Troops Is An Option
Our troops do not get paid a ton of money, especially when you compare it to the duties they must perform on a daily basis. But, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on readiness, who oversees about 40 percent of the defense budget in his role, has put cutting the pay of our future troops over base closings and force structure cuts.
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This is causing outrage across many in the military community, and we can see why.
A key Republican subcommittee chairman is ready to accept pay and benefits cuts for future service members, but he won’t support base closing or significant force structure cuts.
Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., who oversees about 40 percent of the defense budget in his role as chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on readiness, said he’s convinced after talking with defense and service leaders that compensation-related military personnel costs need to be reduced to protect other programs.
In an interview taped for the C-SPAN Newsmakers program, which is televised on Sunday, Wittman wouldn’t support base closing, although defense officials have pleaded with Congress to allow them to reduce a base infrastructure that is 20 percent in excess of requirements. “I have never said it is an ‘absolutely no’ to BRAC any time in the future,” Wittman said, referring to the base closing and realignment commission process, but base closing has upfront costs that would take away money for current needs, and he doesn’t think the services are yet set on long-term basing needs while force structure changes remain in flux. “Until those other uncertainties are dealt with, I just don’t think it is a good time to do that,” he said.
On pay and benefits cuts, Wittman said he would not favor reductions that applied to currently serving people. “I think we have a moral commitment as a nation to say this is the agreement, while not legal but I think a moral agreement, under which you came into the services, and I think we need to stand by that.”