Congress didn’t expect the backlash from veterans and Veterans’ Service organizations when they cut the cost of living allowance for military retirees’ pensions. The Washington Post reports the backpedaling by Congressmen and Senators who voted for the cut but who are now feeling the heat;
The cut is small — a one-percentage-point reduction in the annual cost-of-
living increase — but it has provoked outrage among veterans, some of whom argue that the country is reneging on a solemn pact. And even though lawmakers, especially in the GOP, fulminate about the need to cut the cost of federal health and retirement benefits, many have vowed to roll the cut back when Congress returns to work next week.
The authors of the budget deal, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.), have agreed to amend the provision to exempt disabled retirees and survivors of those killed in action, eliminating roughly 10 percent of the $6 billion in savings projected over the next decade.
Yeah, everyone always say that the cut is “small” – but if it’s so small, why did they even bother? Lord knows that there are more egregious things that could be reduced or cut entirely out of federal spending – the child tax credit for illegal aliens, for example.
From another article in the Washington Post (quoted in Stars & Stripes);
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who is up for reelection next year, has introduced a bill to replace the $6 billion saved by the COLA cut by instead “eliminating a tax loophole for offshore corporations,” a news release from her office said.
Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte, N.H., James Inhofe, Okla., Lindsey Graham, S.C., and others also have come out against the COLA cut.
On Dec. 23, Reps. Julia Brownley, D-Calif., and Ted Poe, R-Texas, introduced similar measures that would repeal the provision.
“As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I believe our servicemembers, veterans, and their families must receive the benefits they have earned and deserve,” Brownley said in a statement. “These benefits are owed to them without equivocation. That is why I have introduced legislation to repeal the military retiree COLA reduction.”
Yeah, well, they thought they could get away with it, because veterans are a much smaller constituency than other groups, they didn’t count on our outdoor voices. Show me how willing Congress is to cut spending by cutting their own pensions and their own pay. This is me not holding my breath.