Bush to seek bigger military pay raise again

President Bush will propose a 3.1 percent pay raise for military service members and a 2.3 percent increase for civilian federal employees, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

The White House will not make its raise recommendations official until Monday, when the president's fiscal 2006 budget is released. But administration officials revealed the raise figures to the newspaper.

For the last several years, the White House has consistently recommended higher raises for the military in its proposed budgets. Each year, Congress has rebuffed his proposals and granted equal military-civilian pay raises.

In his fiscal 2004 budget proposal, for example, President Bush requested a 2 percent salary adjustment for civilian federal employees and a 4.1 percent boost for the armed forces. Congress, however, included a 4.1 percent raise for both civil servants and military personnel.

In the fiscal 2005 budget, the White House proposed a 3.5 percent raise for the military and a 1.5 percent raise for civilians. All federal employees received a 3.5 percent raise.

This year, lawmakers in the House and Senate have already introduced resolutions that call for equal pay raises for military and civilian federal employees in 2006.

"The civilian federal employees who strive every day to keep our country safe, strong and prosperous deserve a fair pay adjustment that rewards their hard work," said Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., one of the sponsors of the resolution, this week. "At a time when our country faces threats to our security at home and abroad, it is more important than ever that we provide adequate pay and pay adjustments to help recruit and retain quality civilian federal employees to serve the American people."