House plans for a massive pay bump for junior enlisted troops will cost more than $24 billion over the next five years, more than the price tag for two new aircraft carriers, congressional analysts confirmed on Monday.

The calculation comes as both House and Senate leaders debate how to help young military families avoid financial difficulties while ensuring the armed forces have sufficient funding for maintaining operations.

House lawmakers will vote on the enlisted pay raise plan — which would guarantee nearly every service member a base pay of $30,000 a year — in coming days as part of the chamber’s draft of the annual defense authorization bill.

The measure outlines policy and spending targets for nearly $885 billion in national security programs, including an across-the-board 4.5% pay raise for all troops in 2025 and a further pay raise of up to 15% for troops in ranks E-4 and below. E-5s with less than 10 years service will see an average bump of 7%.

For an E-2 with two years of military service, that increase will mean about $5,000 in extra pay next year. For an E-4 with four years of military service, it’s almost $7,500 more.

House appropriators have already signaled they intend to fund the plan in their budget bills later this month, but the financial investment is significant. The Congressional Budget Office on Monday estimated the plan will add $24.4 billion in extra defense spending from fiscal 2025 through fiscal 2029.

The White House on Tuesday put the five-year estimate at just under $22 billion, and at a cost of $3.3 billion next year alone.

Defense planners have balked at similar pay plans in the past because of the significant monetary strain such moves put on the entire military budget.

In recent months, they have lobbied lawmakers behind the scenes to delay any action on junior enlisted pay until next year, when a Pentagon analysis on service member compensation is complete. White House officials on Tuesday issued a new statement of opposition to the pay plan, citing the cost.

For the two aircraft carrier comparison, the USS John F. Kennedy is scheduled to be completed next year at a total construction cost of about $11.4 billion. The USS Enterprise, meanwhile, is set to be finished in 2028 at a price tag of around $12.3 billion, according to statistics from the Congressional Research Service.

The pay plan also approaches the total cost of the Space Force budget for fiscal 2025, estimated by service leaders to be $29.6 billion.

But House lawmakers have argued the investment is necessary to ensure that the military services can keep pace with recruiting and retention goals, and to properly reward young troops and their spouses for the sacrifices of military life.

The House plan also includes a boost in service member housing stipends and more money for on-base daycare services. The plan received bipartisan support in the House Armed Services Committee last month but faces a difficult path on the chamber floor because of potential social issue amendments on issues such as abortion and transgender medical care.

Senate Armed Services officials thus far have been noncommittal on the House’s ambitious enlisted raises. They are expected to unveil the first draft of their service member quality of life ideas on Wednesday, with a committee vote on their draft of the authorization bill later in the week.

A compromise between the separate House and Senate versions of the authorization and appropriations bills is not expected until sometime this fall or winter, possibly leaving the fate of the pay raises unsettled until just a few weeks before the start of 2025.

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

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