Subscribe

WASHINGTON — A 3.1 percent pay raise for all military went into effect on Jan. 1, along with a host of other pay and benefits changes contained in a new defense bill.

President Bush on Friday signed the 2006 Defense Appropriations Act into law. The bill, paired with the 2006 Defense Authorization Act, sets the country’s defense spending for fiscal 2006, which began Oct. 1.

Political fighting over the joint legislation delayed its congressional passage until just before Christmas.

Now that the measure is law, military personnel will see a 3.1 percent salary increase starting with their January paychecks.

The $453.5 billion appropriations bill, which outlines where and how money will get to military programs, also includes $50 billion in supplemental funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bush signed the measure at his Crawford, Texas, ranch on Friday along with about a dozen other bills, including one extending the Patriot Act for a few more weeks.

The one-month extension of the Patriot Act, the result of political disagreements between the House and Senate, means lawmakers must debate the issue again in January and decide whether to extend it past Feb. 3.

White House officials said Bush is expected to sign into law next week the authorization act, which includes rules governing the use of torture by U.S. troops and other policy language.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up