Sen. Hirono: “As we continue to combat inflation, the thought of slashing the cost of living allowance for Servicemembers in Hawaii is absurd.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), questioned a panel of Department of Defense (DoD) officials about a proposed fifty percent cut to the cost of living allowance for military families in Hawaii during a SASC Personnel Subcommittee Hearing. During her line of questioning, Senator Hirono highlighted Hawaii’s high cost of living and emphasized her opposition to the proposed cuts to this allowance.
“My office has heard from our Servicemembers in Hawaii that they are deeply concerned about imminent cuts to their cost of living allowance by around fifty percent,” said Senator Hirono during the hearing. “Hawaii has the most expensive cost of living of any state in the country.”
Currently, Servicemembers stationed in Hawaii and other posts outside the continental U.S. receive an Overseas Cost of Living Allowance, or OCOLA, to offset the higher prices of goods and services. Earlier this year, however, the Department of Defense announced plans to reduce OCOLA benefits for servicemembers in Hawaii by as much as 50%.
Senator Hirono continued, “Today, the cost of a gallon of gas in Hawaii is $4.85, more than a dollar above the national average of $3.46. A gallon of milk in Honolulu is $7.28 compared to the national average of $4.41. The cost of housing in Hawaii is higher than any other state—I could go on. As we continue to combat inflation, the thought of slashing the cost of living allowance for Servicemembers in Hawaii is absurd.”
During the hearing, Senator Hirono also highlighted the investments from President Biden’s budget in resources for Servicemembers—including expanding Pre-K, suicide prevention, sexual assault prevention and response, and reproductive health care services—and asked about what the DoD is doing to support family planning services.
A link to download video of Senator Hirono’s full question line is available here.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, Senator Hirono is focused on overseeing the safe closure of Red Hill, rebuilding and modernizing military infrastructure in Hawaii and around the country, strengthening U.S. relationships with partners and allies, and advancing DOD’s work to combat climate change.