Senate Democrats are not actually blocking a 3.1% pay raise for the military.
Senate Republicans accused their Democratic colleagues of filibustering "the largest pay raise in a decade" for military service members after they blocked a vote Thursday on an appropriations bill over concerns about Donald Trump's border wall.
However, as the Military Times reported on Thursday, the 3.1% pay increase "is set to take effect on Jan. 1, regardless what lawmakers say about the ongoing budget fights on Capitol Hill." The publication further noted that "[i]n fact, the pay increase for troops is set to go into effect in two months unless Congress or the president intervenes, both unlikely scenarios."
Senate Democrats have held up the spending bill over over concerns that Trump will continue to divert military funds to pay for his massive wall along the southern border — the one he repeatedly promised would be funded entirely by Mexico.
But the facts did not stop a wide array of Senate Republicans from repeating their false claim.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used the bill as an argument that the House Democrats' focus on the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump's Ukraine scandal was "crowding out critical priorities" in the Senate.
The Kentucky Republican claimed Democrats had "blocked resources for our men and women in uniform. They blocked the funding our commanders need to keep us safe in this dangerous time. They blocked a pay raise for men and women in uniform."
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), chair of the Senate Republican Conference, said the "Democrats once again voted against funding our military. They blocked the largest pay raise in a decade for our troops. It’s time for Democrats to join Republicans in passing a defense funding bill & stop blocking the troops’ hard-earned pay raise."
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) followed their lead. "For the second time, Senate Democrats have blocked funding for our servicemembers, failing to give our troops their largest pay raise in a decade," she claimed. "Folks, we’ve got to do better for our troops and their families."
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) claimed that by delaying the defense appropriations bill, Senate Democrats were obstructing a "3.1 percent pay raise for military members — the largest pay raise for our nation's troops in a decade."
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy also incorrectly claimed that due to the "sham impeachment," the military "is NOT getting a pay raise." Trump's 2020 reelection campaign war room shared McCarthy's false claim.
In a floor speech on Thursday, Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer denounced the false Republican talking point.
"Instead of standing up and defending their own position that they want the money for the wall — however indefensible in my judgment — Senate Republicans have resorted to bogus attacks against Democrats," he said. "Senate Republicans accuse Democrats of delaying a pay raise for our troops, even though, first, the pay raise is strongly bipartisan, and, more important, the standing law of the land dictates it will go into effect regardless of whether we pass the Defense appropriations."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.