Skip to comments.Veterans groups angry over budget deal
Posted on 12/11/2013 4:26:26 PM PST by robowombat
December 11, 2013, 05:36 pm Veterans groups angry over budget deal By Jeremy Herb
Veterans groups are lashing out at the congressional budget deal for targeting military retirement accounts to help pay for spending increases.
The Military Coalition, a group of 33 uniformed services and veterans organizations, is sent a letter to House and Senate leaders, as well as President Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, expressing their anger with the deal.
This radical proposal basically kills the grandfather-concern addressed by both Congress and the administration and actually eliminates the appropriate review process failing to consider long-term readiness and retention outcomes in order to meet an arbitrary deadline so that Congress can go home for the holidays, the groups wrote. They are outraged that veterans and members of the military are footing $6 billion of the cost of the bill under the agreement, which lowers the cost-of-living adjustment for retirement accounts of service members younger than 62.
The deal reached by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Senate Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash) lowered the cost-of-living adjustment for retirement accounts to 1 percent below inflation, which will fully take effect in 2016.
The veterans groups are trying to quickly mobilize opposition among their members over including military retirement in the budget deal, which provided $63 billion of sequester relief over the next two years in exchange including restoration of $32 billion in automatic cuts to the Pentagon for $85 billion in deficit reduction.
We are not happy about it at all, said Mike Barron, deputy director of government relations for the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). This was a backdoor deal in the worst kind of way.
In their letter to congressional leadership, the groups say the retirement changes will have a devastating financial impact for those who retire at the 20 year point by reducing retired pay by nearly 20 percent at age 62.
While portrayed as a minor change, a 20 percent reduction in retired pay and survivor benefit values is a massive cut in military career benefits and an egregious breach of faith, the groups wrote.
Ending the harmful effects of sequestration is a top priority for our nations security and military readiness, but to tax the very men and women who have sacrificed and served more than others is simply a foul, they said.
The veterans groups said they were surprised by the last-minute inclusion of military retirement in the budget deal, and complained that the changes did not stem from the House and Senate Armed Services or Veterans Committees.
During the press conference, they were talk of all the stuff they left off the table. Im wondering why veterans and military retirees were on that table, said Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
This will negatively impact the military, and eventually impact national security, he said. How are you going to retain high quality people to spend a career in the military if they think their benefits will get cut?
The veterans groups also complained that the commission enacted in the 2013 Defense authorization bill to study military retirement had specifically removed a fast-tracking rule to change military retirement benefits.
Several groups are trying to get their members involved to express opposition to including the military retirement reduction in the deal. Both Barron and Tarantino pointed to the 1980s attempt to cut military retirement benefits, known as REDUX, which was enacted by Congress but later repealed.
VFW calculates that this will have a devastating impact on retirement benefits for retirees and survivors and jeopardizes the future value of military career benefits, and adversely effects recruitment, retention and our national security, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) wrote in an alert to its members.
Still, its unclear what the organizations can do to remove the military retirement provisions from the budget deal, which the House plans to vote on Thursday.
The $6 billion portion from military retirement is a relatively small part of the $85 billion in total deficit reduction to pay for the bill. There is also another $6 billion taken out of retirement accounts for federal workers, down from an initial proposal of $20 billion.
This story was updated at 6:03 p.m.
gives another black mark to GOP for choosing such a tone deaf liberal to run in the general election. Good
Enough of it
Throwing veterans under the bus to give more free money and freebies to freeloading maggots and illegal aliens. What a country.
Paul Ryan suddenly isn’t looking as brilliant as we’d thought.
Kind of expected
Even here on FR vets are thrown under the bus on occassion when it comes to bennies.
I agree that the pain is inevitable because those bastages in DC are doing nothing to fix any of this mess. But ALL need to feel the pain. Isolating the veteran for the pain is, as the article alluded to, an egregious breach of faith.
IMO, if, as a veteran, I’m going to get pricked, then all those who take federal dollars under any pretext need to get pricked.
Hell, if anything veterans should get more benefits.
why not cut the federal government employees benefits and pensions. the military guys and gals sacrificed for years and suddenly they get the shaft again.
I’m pretty sure I’ve never said a kind word about Paul Ryan and I’m sure not going to now
This deal RAISES federal spending to over a trillion.
Someone please explain why anything gets cut when they are RAISING the amount of money taken in?
My take is that Paul Ryan arbitrarily decided to injure veteran retirements.
He needs a vet to primary him and get him out of there.
Getting beat down by a woman that has been running neck and neck for years with Barbara Boxer as the “dumbest” U.S. Senator does not show me that Paul Ryan has much to talk about in the smarts department. It is difficult to accept that this was the best that could be done; another government shutdown would have been better I think.
(FYI: I am a US Army retiree(NCO) and currently work for a contractor that does about 70% of its work with the DOD. I would be effected directly by a shutdown, but feel it may be the only way to correct things.)
Exactly, and I had such high hopes for Mister Ryan.
Do I still have GOPian high hopes?
I agree, a vet should primary him. For Ryan to get cozy with Osama Mama is a dead giveaway that he’s no conservative.
She’s one of my lib senators and doesn’t have the brains to come in out of the rain.
We generally don't vote rat, so it is easy for them to throw us under the bus. I hate rats, because they usually favor the dregs of society, over vets.
And that it really doesn't matter about cutting veteran's benefits because everyone else was lied to as well and no one can afford defined benefits retirements.
“...My take is that Paul Ryan arbitrarily decided to injure veteran retirements....”
Whether he consciously decided to do that or was, like a fool, tricked into it—he IS disproportionately hurting military members.
CURRENT RETIRED military (if under age 62) would have their computed cost-of-living increase reduced by 1% each year. So if the COLA percentage is 2.3% they’d only get 1.3%. This would repeat year after year, adding up over time. The same thing would happen to ALL CURRENT ACTIVE DUTY military (year after year until they reach age 62) once they retire. And the same thing would happen to future military.
ON THE OTHER HAND current civilian civil service employees and current retirees are ALL NOT EFFECTED AT ALL. The only civil service employees who would be affected would be those hired January 1, 2014 or later—and they would not be impacted until their retirement.
Anyone else notice the disparate treatment? Screw the military and protect the civil service employees (who just happen to be largely DEMOCRATS)—a typical liberal/progressive dream in America.
There are two nations within our borders. There is The United States of America and Democratland. The citizens of Democratland get their money by taking it from the citizens of The United States of America. Democrat politicians only work for the citizens of Democratland. Sounds like the Nazis, doesn’t it?
Actually federal pensions were subjected to the same sort of ‘inflation rate’ (not really) minus 1% deflator back in the Reagan administration. And yes Diet Cola, as it is called, will have a very big negative impact on military pensions which are now fully indexed, over time. It is a big hit as most enlisted pensions are a lot lower than federal civil service pensions.
Why should any government retiree expect to receive any sort of raise, ever?
Have they done something to deserve a raise?
Can I get a COLA deduction on my annual income taxes?
Why no sarasmom, you cant!
The feds need me and others to pay ever higher amounts for COLAs for retired people, politicians, and everyone else who lives off government contributions.
Citizen or illegal alien.
In the CONUS or in foreign nations.
Doesn't matter if our earned incomes go down annually, and we have an ever increasing household budget deficit, due to the COLAs of others, and the squandering of tax dollars. Cry me a river!