Military will see increases, housing allowance will increase if NDAA passes as written
WASHINGTON — The National Defense spending proposal is out, and for Ellsworth Air Force Base, it means salary increases for military personnel and another look at the B-21 — all as inflation spikes the tip of his nose.
Earlier this week, in a 23-3 vote, the Senate Armed Services Committee moved forward with the $847 billion fiscal year 2023 bill. The National Defense Authorization Act ( NDAA) itself has not yet passed, but the House version has. South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds says he hopes the Senate version will be on the floor by early October.
“That’s what actually authorizes funding for the military expenses of our men and women in uniform for the year ahead,” Senator Rounds said.
AUTHORIZATION VS. APPROPRIATION
Authorization and appropriation are two different things when it comes to government spending. Authorization is that Congress allows money to be spent on something, while appropriation actually makes funding available – and a specific amount – for a given fiscal year.
In this proposal, there is a salary increase of 4.6% for military service members and civilian employees of the Department of Defense. The Basic Needs Allowance would increase eligibility and the amount of the allowance, from 130% of the federal poverty level to 150%.
Senator Rounds adds that the housing allowance for Airmen and their families will see an upward match with inflation. The Secretary of Defense could authorize an adjustment to the Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) rate for an area if the actual cost of housing differs by more than 20% from the current BAH rate.
“Most people here don’t believe the administration recognized how bad inflation was going to get, and so the Biden administration didn’t include money for inflation,” Rounds said. “But we did.”
The impacts of inflation are already visible on the B-21 bomber program, although Rounds says the nuclear-capable bomber is still on schedule and on budget, with an official deployment scheduled for later this year.
“Rather than slog through and literally do a first flight, do the deployment, and then come back and fix a lot of bugs, they decided to fix a lot of those bugs on the early copies,” Towers added.
The proposal also included $15 million in funding for schools impacted by core changes, such as the influx of families expected when the B-21 program lands in Ellsworth.