Closing the barn door

| December 31, 2013

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.

Category: Congress sucks, Veterans Issues

Comments (16)

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  1. Old Trooper says:

    I wouldn’t have had a problem with the cuts IF it would have been across the board, but they weren’t. And, when you make cuts to the military, again, and don’t touch money for illegals, then you open yourself up for the ass whoopin you deserve.

    Screw them and their backpedaling skanky asses.

  2. Ex-PH2 says:

    Oh, did they get caught with their hands in the cookie jar?
    Naughty, naughty!

    Maybe they should go a few years with no pay at all.

  3. 21Zulu says:

    I predict it will not be repealed this year so politicians can use it as a campaign sound bite (Vote for me, I’ll restore your retirement!). The next congress will do nothing, saying they don’t have enough votes to pass it so it’s not with voting on, and the Republicans won’t have the spine to force the issue.

  4. docstew says:

    I honestly wouldn’t have minded the cut as it was IF they had grandfathered in everyone currently receiving retirement, currently serving service members past 10 years time in service, and disabled vets. They didn’t do that. Intentionally. And then Paul Ryan has the gall to tell us to suck it up.

    I swear, I would fully support a Constitutional amendment to strip reps and senators of the majority of their pay and benefits, including retirements. Then we might see who actually wants to SERVE instead of RULE.

  5. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    As I said before, when a Democrat who shaped the legislation is running from it, you know there’s BIG trouble in River city. Here’s the thing, though. After the cut is repealed, send your critter a nice note of thanks–THEN, at the ballot box, get even.

  6. A Proud Infidel says:

    Members of Congress ought to be paid minimum wage, and have their pay docked EVERY time they miss a vote, committee meeting, take excessive vacations,…

  7. rb325th says:

    I wonder if this was not the plan all along. Dems get that into the “compromis”, Ryan trying to look likeRepublicans were willing to make things happen as they have been hurt severely by the propaganda that they are obstructionist… Backlash comes, Ryan gets caught trying to defend it while the Dems say… “Ooops, that was wrong and we should repeal that… oh but you have to punish the rich a little for us to do it while we keep the welfare line open to illegals.”
    So in the end Ryan looks like an ass, it doesn’t hurt Dems all that much because the majority of veterans still don’t vote for them anyhow, and they get a victory in closing a “loophole” that benefits evil republicans (even though some pretty well known Dems use it too).
    Win win for the Democrats.

  8. NR Pax says:

    @4: I had ideas along those lines but they were a touch harsher. But definitely take away the incentives to make Congress a career path.

  9. NHSparky says:

    Funny how a Senator nicknamed “Queen Jeanne the Spending Machine” would vote to CUT spending, but then again, her internal polling must absolutely SUCK when you consider she’s pushing to delay the Obamacare mandate, her vote on this, gun control, etc…

  10. Common Sense says:

    How about cuts for the millions of government workers in DC? Unlike the rest of the country, DC has been growing in leaps and bounds – income is up, housing is up, and it’s all OUR money.

  11. Sparks says:

    @4 I agree 100%. Your idea would truly define which ones are Statesmen and which are merely politicians. We have not had true Statesmen in a long time.

  12. Sparks says:

    There are so many places in the federal budget that NEED cutting. Such as ALL benefits to illegal aliens. Don’t even get me started about the welfare programs. Now these congressional turds are all ass covering in view of 2014 coming up. Screw them all. @5 Air Cav had the best idea. Let ’em repeal it, then get even at the ballot box and screw them over like they have done to retirees and vets.

  13. Again proof that the assclowns in DC are out of touch with Americans. They have two goals in life…to get elected to office and to get re-elected.

  14. chockblock says:

    Never forget, the wonks at the DoD, in Congress and the Press will keep trying to cut our pay and bennies. Whether it’s to make the case for conscription or to be dillweeds there will always be a call for “reform” of military pay.

    We need to keep fighting.

  15. MrBill says:

    @7 – great analysis, I think you nailed it.

  16. PapaMAS says:

    So, the entire package has, “$6 billion in savings projected over the next decade.” That’s $600 million a year. And the retiree/survivor payments are, “roughly 10 percent” of that, or $60M out of an annual budget of well over a trillion. Chump change to pay people what they have earned, whereas we can have a good debate over where the rest of the taxpayers money goes. But the important thing is the politicians can posture that they are performing their civic duties while the ship is sinking.