House panel OKs troop pay boost

From Times Wire Reports

The House Armed Services Committee approved a bill authorizing $601.4 billion in defense spending for next year, including a 3.9% pay raise for troops.

The pay increase and other service benefits -- such as a prohibition on increased healthcare fees -- is more than President Bush wants. But it is in sync with a broader election-year effort by lawmakers to boost benefits for service members and veterans.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has proposed a similar defense bill that includes the 3.9% pay increase -- all but guaranteeing the provision will be included in the final bill and sent to Bush for his signature this summer.

The legislation covers the 2009 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

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