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.