Pentagon salaries for diversity, equity, inclusion staff capped at $31K under Cotton, Banks bill
EXCLUSIVE: A new bill being pushed by Sen. Tom Cotton and Rep. Jim Banks would cap the salaries of any Pentagon employees working on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives at $31,000.
The GOP lawmakers say that the legislation would “prohibit” the Department of Defense from specifically employing DEI officials above the E-5 rank, which has a salary of $31,000 per year. The bill would additionally require current DEI employees making above the E-5 pay grade to be “reassigned” within 180 days of the law’s enactment.
Cotton, R-Ark., told G3 Box News Digital that the bill “will make sure the Department of Defense’s budget focuses on strengthening our national security, not paying administrators to solve social justice problems that don’t exist.”
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“Government bureaucrats promoting divisive ideology should not earn a higher paycheck than the soldiers on the front lines defending our country,” the senator said.
An aide for Cotton explained the reason for the E-5 classification level cap is because that, although it is not the lowest level of rank that carries command duties, it is the first level that soldiers are called “sergeant.” If the bill became law, DEI specialists at the Pentagon would not make more money than the service members responsible for leading U.S. troops on the front lines.
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“Bureaucrats are getting paid more to teach anti-Americanism than patriotic service members who stand ready to fight and die for their country,” Banks, R-Ind., told G3 Box News Digital. “It’s a travesty and it sends a dangerous message to troops and recruits about the Pentagon’s priorities and values. Funding poisonous ideologies will destroy our military’s readiness and cohesion. This bill ensures more of the DoD’s budget is spent on the warfighters who enable the U.S. military to accomplish its mission, which is to win wars.”
The bill, titled the ‘‘DEI Pay Cap Act of 5 2023’,” has no serious prospect of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate.
President Biden’s administration has enacted a sweeping diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) agenda since he took office.
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In late September, the Pentagon announced a new defense advisory committee on diversity and inclusion, which will provide advice and recommendations on “matters and policies relating to the improvement of racial/ethnic diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity within the department.” A week later, DOD released a 37-page plan to promote DEIA.
G3 Box News’ Pete Kasperowicz contributed to this report.