Guest blogged by Arlen Parsa
On Monday May 21st, The BRAD BLOG reported that the Bush Administration's military pay plan for 2008 was not in compliance with a key statute in the 1999 Defense Authorization Act. The Act, which went into effect in 2000, required annual pay raises for military personnel to be based on a figure called the Employment Cost Index (ECI), plus an additional 0.5% raise.
The Administration's proposed pay raise for 2007 is 3%, less than both the ECI increase according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (3.3%) and the traditional ECI + 0.5% figure, which would be equal to 3.8%. The BRAD BLOG had reported that by seeking to deny the additional 0.5% pay increase, the Administration would be breaking the law.
Further reporting, however, has revealed that our original report was actually incorrect in regards to the plan's illegality. At least based on the provision we had originally reported on. We have now determined that the Administration's plan would not break that part of the 1999 law because of obscure language in the 700 page Defense Authorization Act that fails to extend the 0.5% pay formula to fiscal year 2008.
The error was discovered while doing research for a follow-up to my original report.
Had the Administration offered its new plan in previous years, it would have been illegal. However, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle are now seeking to re-authorize the previous plan, which would make the Bush plan, as we reported previously, illegal once again under the new provisions.
As well, despite the expiration of the ECI + 0.5% measure, the Administration's proposal for a salary increase may still be illegal under the 1999 Defense Authorization Act...