Washington, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, issued the following statement:
“Employers in the private sector have nearly unanimously said ‘no way’ to President Trump’s bizarre payroll tax deferral plan that will temporarily raise paychecks this year but slash them in January as employees are forced to repay these funds owed to the IRS. But Trump is forcing our military servicemembers and federal civil servants to participate. As the Chair of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, I am obligated to speak out about the damaging impact that this will have on our servicemembers.
“Our Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines join to serve the nation, out of patriotism, to be part of an important and fulfilling mission, and often in search of educational and growth opportunities. The pay is not high—a typical junior enlisted servicemember earns about $2,000 per month in basic pay. And in many cases, the servicemember is the primary breadwinner, as frequent moves and remote base locations severely limit employment opportunities for military spouses and partners. Because of these reasons, servicemembers typically live paycheck-to-paycheck. This same junior enlisted will see take-home pay increased by about $125 this month, but starting in January, their pay will drop by $250 per month through April to pay back this involuntary loan, which will only compound the stress on their finances.
“This is no way to treat the Americans who risk their lives to defend the United States. It is also no way to treat the civil servants who are also crucial to the nation’s defense, the pandemic response, and countless programs that Americans rely upon. What is the point of this exercise, other than to make it look like the President gave the troops a raise right before the election? But like so many Trump initiatives, this raise is a scam.
“I support Rep. Larson’s bill, the Save Social Security Now Act (H.R.8171), which would prohibit the Treasury Department from implementing the President’s ill-considered, self-serving, and destructive initiative, and I urge my colleagues to do the same. If the President truly wants to support the troops, he should abandon his veto threat toward the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act over his bigoted desire to preserve racist base names and instead support the bill, which would offer a real, 3% raise for servicemembers that they don’t have to pay back.”