Tester pushes pay raise for troops

Increase would give raise to 7,500 Montana airmen, guardsmen

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester wants his
colleagues to vote for a measure that will give members of the U.S.
military a 3.9 percent pay raise.

If passed and signed into law, 3,500 members of the
Montana National Guard and more than 4,000 airmen at Malmstrom Air Force base
would get pay raises.

“Passing a well-deserved pay raise is the right thing to
do for folks who put their lives on the line for our country,” said Tester, a
member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  “This shouldn’t be a sticking
point.  Congress needs to vote on this common sense pay raise now and the
President needs to sign it into law.”

The pay raise is part of the Defense Authorization Act, which funds
personnel, equipment and health care for service members and their families. 
The 3.9 percent pay increase included in the Senate measure is half a percentage
point more than what President Bush requested for U.S.

Tester has proposed
an amendment
to the Defense
Authorization Act
requiring the military to pay for travel costs for
immediate relatives to attend one memorial service in addition to a burial
service, following an active-duty death.  The Senate will continue voting on
amendments this week.

Currently the military only pays for transportation
costs for relatives who attend graveside services.

The Defense
Authorization Act
is S. 3001.  The Senate is expected to vote on the
measure later this week.