Both the House and the Senate versions of the Fiscal Year 2009 National Defense Authorization Act include provisions for a 3.9 percent across-the-board increase in military basic pay. This makes a 3.9 percent raise, effective January 1, 2009, pretty much a sure thing.
In its annual submission to Congress, the Bush administration asked for an across-the-board raise of only 3.4 percent over 2008 basic pay rates. 3.4 percent is the minimum amount that the President could have requested under Federal law. By law, the minimum annual raise in military basic pay is tied to the Department of Labor’s Employment Cost Index (ECI) which tracks changes in pay for all state and local government employees, as well as most private-sector workers.
It's not unusual for Congress to grant a pay raise larger than the administration requests. In fact, in 2008, Congress did exactly that. The Bush 2008 budget proposal asked for a 3.0 raise in military basic pay (the minimum required by the ECI), and Congress included an extra one-half percent when they passed the 2008 Defense Authorization Act, continuing a multi-year practice of military pay raises slightly above the ECI.
The charts linked below depict 2009 monthly basic pay for military members, should the 3.9 percent raise become law.