Sam Graves-Taking Care of our Servicemembers

June 07, 2024

Dear Friend,

School just wrapped up for the year and graduates have their sights set on what’s next. That may be college, or technical school, or going straight into the workforce. For others, they’ve chosen to enlist in a branch of the military. They’ve taken seriously a call to serve, dedicating themselves for a time to safeguarding our nation and putting themselves in harm’s way. For some, that may mean paying the ultimate sacrifice. The very least we can do for these men and women who have chosen to serve is ensure that they have a decent quality of life while they are in the military.

Last week, the House Armed Services Committee, which I serve on, took up the annual Defense Bill. This critical legislation ensures we can defend our country. This year, we took a close look at the issues facing our service members and how we can best take care of them while they serve.

Our junior enlisted members, many of whom have recently entered the military, are desperately in need of a pay raise. While we’ve given raises to our military as a whole over the last several years, the pay for those young servicemembers has not remained competitive. Inflation has made things even worse. This year, we included a much-need 19.5% pay raise to our junior members, as well as a 4.5% bump to the rest of our military. It’s much deserved and makes military pay more competitive, helping to retain and attract more recruits.

On top of that, cost of living, basic needs and housing allowances will all see increases. These are what our military men and women and their families rely on to live. Those who are already sacrificing to serve our country shouldn’t have to rely on food stamps and food banks to survive. Additionally, our bill puts resources towards addressing issues in unaccompanied military housing, like mold for instance. Our bill addresses those maintenance issues, ensuring quality housing for our servicemembers.

It’s no secret that we live in a dangerous time and while we have focused on improving the quality of life for our military, this legislation does far more than that. It ensures we are able to counter terrorist threats from Iran, the Taliban, North Korea, and other terrorist groups and violent extremists. It places a large focus on deterring China, and it helps us innovate so we can outpace our adversaries around the world. While it bolsters our national defense, it also implements reforms and reduces inefficiencies, so we reduce waste in our military spending.

The bottom line is that our men and women deserve a military that not only provides them with 21st century equipment and technology so they can safely and effectively do the job, but they also deserve basic necessities wherever they’ve gotten the call to serve. It’s key to attracting capable and qualified servicemembers to defend the freedoms we hold dear.


Sam Graves