Bill would address higher military uniform prices for women

U.S.

FILE – In this Sept. 18, 2012 file photo, female soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division train on a firing range while testing new body armor in Fort Campbell, Ky. A federal appeals court in New Orleans upheld the constitutionality of the all-male military draft system Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, citing a 1981 U.S. Supreme Court decision.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said “only the Supreme Court may revise its precedent.” (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire said she has introduced a bill to address a so-called “pink tax” in the military, a reference to the higher prices women service members often pay for their uniforms.

Hassan, a Democrat, and Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, of Iowa, recently introduced the bill together.

Hassan said the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found that women paid more in out-of-pockets costs for their uniforms than their male counterparts. It also found that while all branches of the military provide an annual clothing allowance for uniform items, some items in certain branches are not eligible for reimbursements and can drive up costs.

“It is absurd that we are forcing service members to fork over thousands of dollars in order to pay for necessary clothing items that they wear while serving our country,” Hassan said in a statement.

“This disparity in uniform costs is particularly stark for women,” she added.

The bill would require the Department of Defense to develop consistent criteria for determining which uniform items are considered “uniquely military,” so as to reduce differences in out-of-pocket costs across services and by gender. It also would require the department to review each service’s plans for any uniform change.

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