Skip to comments.Administration Threatens Veto Over Concurrent Receipt
Posted on 06/21/2002 6:57:52 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
Senior administration officials say they will urge President Bush to veto the 2003 defense authorization bill if, as expected, it supports phase in of full military retired pay to roughly 80,000 seriously disabled retirees who also draw tax-free VA disability compensation.
The White House's Office of Management and Budget delivered the veto warning in a June 19 memo to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Congressional plans to allow "concurrent receipt'' of both military retired pay and VA compensation for retirees with VA disability ratings of 60 percent or higher, said OMB, "is contrary to the long-standing principle'' that no one can receive dual benefits for the same period of service. Also, it would raise mandatory federal spending by $18 billion over 10 years and "retirement accrual'' costs for the Defense Department by $11 billion, forcing "tradeoffs with war-fighting capabilities.''
The House already has passed a partial concurrent receipt provision. The Senate defense bill has similar language, but a different phase-in formula and an earlier start date, Oct. 1, 2002, versus Jan.1, 2003.
On the same day OMB warned of a veto, Senators by voice vote amended the defense bill to lift the concurrent receipt ban altogether. This was more of gesture, however, as senators had no plan to fund it. OMB estimates that ending the retired pay offset for all would raise mandatory federal spending by $58 billion and Defense retirement accrual costs by $20 billion, over 10 years.
"Should the final version of the bill include either provision affecting concurrent receipt of retirement and disability benefits,'' warned OMB, "the President's senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill.''
The seriousness of the veto threat for concurrent receipt specifically was hard to judge because OMB listed several reasons why the Senate bill might be vetoed, including insufficient funds for ballistic missile defense and continued funding for the Army's Crusader program, which Bush wants to kill. If these other sources of heartburn are relieved, would Bush still veto the bill over partial concurrent receipt alone?
"I don't know how it will play out,'' said a Republican staff member. "If the president says he will veto the bill over this issue, we will not put the bill at risk. Then the world has really changed. In a few sectors, there would be a sigh of relief, 'The President is going to take the hit!' Some [lawmakers] really don't want to spend this money.
"But can I see him sending that signal? If he does, I hope they [White House staff] have their phone banks handy.''
One official not afraid to oppose concurrent receipt is David Chu, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness. He told a group of defense writers May 30 that raising the pay of career disabled retirees could pinch funds for more pressing needs such as improved housing for active forces. Indeed, he said, Congress isn't addressing the right problem. The real question is whether "there is something wrong with our retirement system that, in some sense, does not properly compensate people.''
The "bargain the nation had'' with these retirees, Chu said, "is that in return for your service you're going to receive the following pension and ancillary rights'' such as lifetime health care. Full retired pay on top of VA disability pay was not part of the bargain, Chu suggested.
Indeed, disability pay originally was designed for veterans injured in service who could not serve full careers, he said. Deciding now to combine payments "is not necessarily the right answer,'' Chu said. "The two systems were constructed with very different purposes in mind.''
During this critique, Chu referred to a new study on concurrent receipt that Congress had ordered last year. Two weeks later, in mid-June, Chu's office sent it to Congress. The "independent analysis,'' prepared for DoD by SAG Corp., of Annandale, Va., recommends "no changes'' to the dollar-for-dollar offset in military annuities for retirees drawing VA disability pay.
"Obviously, everybody would like to have a bigger paycheck. That's natural human instinct,'' said Chu, a former Army officer. But government spending has limits, he said.
"If we dispense it in a way that really isn't answering any problem that's out there, but it's simply making everybody feel better by sending larger checks, [then] we don't have the money to do things like fix family housing or fix the barracks.''
His argument that concurrent receipt will tap into Defense dollars is correct only under the Senate's initiative, congressional sources said. With an accounting trick that one staff member refused to describe, the House provision would have the general Treasury, rather than the Defense Department, be responsible for making extra deposits in a retirement "accrual account'' each year to cover higher future costs tied to partial concurrent receipt. The Senate plan assumes DoD would cover that tab, $11 billion through 2012.
"This is not free,'' said Chu. "Buddha is not raining cash on the federal government. If we start paying the accrual charges behind this, which we will do under current law, that means barracks I don't get to fix. And having had the privilege of touring many barracks, even renovated ones, they ain't all so great So this is not just a theoretical let's-be-nice-to-everybody issue. This is a question of how do we use the nation's limited resources.''
1. While I was serving in Vietnam it did not seem to me that cost was ever much of an issue.
2. Singling out disabled military retiree's as a group to whom we will deny the receipt of military service connected disability compensation while continueing to pay it to retired civil service workers and congressmen seems pretty rotten.
3. People should encourage their senators to override a Bush veto on this. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Funny thing, Chu, your boss (Pres Bush) has no qualms about sending $100 million to fund dysfunctional education programs in the Congo, and another $500 million to fund condom giveaways in Africa, and another couple hundred million to fund minority housing.
So take your condescending attitude and stuff it. Your boss is failing miserably at rationalizing the pork he's stuffing down our throats. I guess Bush was right when he said "Help is on the way" - help is on the way for homos, third world nations, and illegal immigrants. Evidently veterans are not one of the groups he plans on helping.
Here is another thread on this subject. I'm sorry to say that a lot of post concern my using the "Read my Lips" line and picture of GWB erronously, but if GWB's administration is asking for a veto then he is the CINC and is responsible, IMHO.
He's opposing Concurrent Reciept and he's the one responsible for screwing up CHAMPUS/TRICARE (the life time healthcare scam for vets.
With friends like this in the Pentagon who needs enemies
David S. C. Chu was sworn in as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness on June 1, 2001.
A Presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate, he is the Secretary's senior policy advisor on recruitment, career development, pay and benefits for 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel and 680,000 DoD civilians and is responsible for overseeing the state of military readiness.
The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness also oversees the $15 billion Defense Health Program, Defense Commissaries and Exchanges with $14.5 billion in annual sales, the Defense Education Activity which supports over 100,000 students, and the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, the nations largest equal opportunity training program.
Dr. Chu earlier served in government as the Director and then Assistant Secretary of Defense (Program Analysis and Evaluation) from May 1981 to January 1993. In that capacity, he advised the Secretary of Defense on the future size and structure of the armed forces, their equipment, and their preparation for crisis or conflict.
From 1978 to 1981, Dr. Chu served as the Assistant Director for National Security and International Affairs, Congressional Budget Office, providing advice to the Congress on the full range of national security and international economic issues.
Dr. Chu began his service to the nation in 1968 when he was commissioned in the Army and became an instructor at the U.S. Army Logistics Management Center, Fort Lee VA. He later served a tour of duty in the Republic of Vietnam, working in the Office of the Comptroller, Headquarters, 1st Logistical Command. He obtained the rank of captain and completed his service with the Army in 1970.
Prior to rejoining the Department of Defense, Dr. Chu served in several senior executive positions with RAND, including Director of the Arroyo Center, the Army's federally funded research and development center for studies and analysis and Director of RAND's Washington Office.
Dr. Chu received a Bachelor of Arts Degree, magna cum laude, in Economics and Mathematics from Yale University in 1964 and a Doctorate in Economics, also from Yale, in 1972. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a recipient of its National Public Senior Award. He holds the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public service with silver palm.
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So with all this spending going on, the ONE item he decides he wants to veto is an extra spending bit for veterans. Sure, makes a heck of lot of sense to me.
It is the height of hypocrisy for Chu to say "we need to tighten the reigns on spending" to justify axing this bill, meanwhile spending 100 of times more on third world condom giveaways and illegal immigrant subsidies.
And if you can't realize that, then you're not seeing the forest through the trees.
Damn straight. We need to lather agribusiness with taxpayer largesse,
and prop up the steelworker unions (while causing job losses in
related industries). The difference between conservatism
and Republicanism is stark.
1. 500 million for Aids in Africa
2. 50% increase in Foriegn Aid
3. 100 million for education in Africe 4. amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and the cost that go with it
5. Gigantic increase in housing loans
6. Continue support for the PLO
7. And on and on
And to further clarify the problem. Retired DAV's put the time and effort in to earn their pensions.
VA Disability payments are for injuries, wounds and sickness suffered while on active duty.
To call it pork is very irresponsible.
I concur with this. The problem is, when it comes to feeding at the taxpayer trough, Republicans are equally as greedy as Democrats. After all it was a Republican congress that last year snuck through a 'automatic' payraise for every congressman - when every other American was getting laid off, reduced, or downsized. And it was a Republican (Bush) who added billions to the black hole of waste we call the Dept of Education. It is a pathetic situation.
The Retirement Pension I earned, for 20 years or more of service. It is no different then anyone who worked for IBM or General Motors and receives a pension.
I planned to get my Military Retirement after 20 years as a supliment to a salary when I got out but it didn't happen. I was never promised a retirement pension I earned it. I or anyother DAV didn't asked to be crippled/injured/wounded.
Can you see the difference. THIS ISN'T PORK!, Pork is paying $1 million of you tax dollars to study cow farts in IOWA or Nebraska or building a new highway named for Robert Byrd in West Virginia.
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