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‘A game-changer’: House panel outlines quality-of-life improvements for troops for 2025 defense bill

April 12, 2024

Svetlana Shkolnikova

Stars and Stripes

Military families participate in the Month of the Military Child Parade at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., April 12, 2024. The parade was held to honor and celebrate military children. There are more than 1.6 million children serving alongside service members, who move on average every two to three years. (Lauren Cobin/U.S. Air Force)

By Svetlana Shkolnikova, Stars and Stripes / April 12, 2024

WASHINGTON — A 15% pay raise for junior enlisted service members. No more referrals for physical therapy, optometry, women’s health and other specialties. A basic allowance for housing that covers 100% of estimated costs.

Those are some of the recommendations of a panel of House lawmakers tasked with improving the quality of life for troops and their families as young service members in particular grapple with soaring living costs, substandard housing, limited access to child care, long wait times for medical care and spousal unemployment.

Such problems have plagued the military for years but lawmakers said they will push them to the forefront in the coming months as Congress crafts the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act, an annual bill that sets priorities for the Pentagon.

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