Skip to comments."Had Mitt and I Won, This Would Not Be Necessary"
Posted on 01/15/2014 7:21:15 PM PST by SkyPilot
The feedback continues, with a bunch of military veterans and family members asking me how I could defend the callous COLA cuts to military pensions by way of explaining why Congress is trying to undo them. Another reader email:
I strenuously object to being asked to sacrifice any more! I risked my life in two deployments to war zones, sacrificed my health (I'm also a disabled veteran), and jeopardized my relationship with my family for my country. I find Congress' latest demand a kick in the gut. We veterans and retirees have sacrificed enough without having to endure the pain of COLA cuts. Congress must first reduce the COLA for all current federal retirees (including members of Congress) and Social Security recipients and demand additional sacrifices from non-military Americans. Or better yet, I'm sure there are $6 billion that could be saved by closing corporate tax loopholes, cutting farm subsidies to wealthy corporations, etc. There are at least $6 billion in waste in the defense budget alone. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will cost at least $400 billion, and it doesn't even work! But military veterans and retirees should be the last group Congress asks for more sacrifice.
If I've heard this much, I can only imagine what Republicans have been getting in their voicemails and inboxes. On The Hugh Hewitt Show yesterday, Paul Ryan was handed the hideous job of defending the cuts against a host who found them morally outrageous.
"Had Mitt and I won that election, this would not be required," said Ryan. "This would not be necessary."
Hewitt wouldn't have it. "This will destroy retention," he said. "It will destroy morale, and it is deeply unfair to the American military which has sacrificed more than anyone else."
(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...
HH: Stop it, though. You can vote against it. You, Paul Ryan, can stop this. Will you?
PR: No, no, I believe that it was, it would be a mistake to have more government shutdowns. And what this bill does is it plows $22 billion right now back into the military that would be
HH: But you can, you can go out on the floor tonight and say put back the COLA, spend the extra money, spend that much more money.
PR: Which we have plenty of time to do.
HH: You could do that. No, but you could do it tonight. You could stop this.
PR: But you know what Im going to do tonight, which is actually tomorrow, but what Im going to do tomorrow is Im going to vote to put $22 billion back into the Pentagons budget from getting cut out.
Ryan did his best to explain why the cut would only affect a small number of people (17 percent of military retirees), but I'm starting to think he needs this to be undone...
It gets worse. So many in the media and members of the House and Senate are saying that "all disabled veterans" are protected from the COLA cuts. This is not true. Consider this letter from a retired Army officer who runs a program for Wounded Warriors. Even though Sen Ayotte has requested language in the Omnibus bill to count all disabled veterans as exempt from the egregious cuts, it seems that someone pulled a fast one on her in the 1,500+ page bill. Here is his letter, published on Military.Com:
Below is my reply to a congressional staffer who confirmed only chapter 61 disability retirees (even if rated 0% disabled) will be protected from the COLA reduction:
Based on what you are telling me, there are huge inequities in the proposed fix:
A fully employable chapter 61 disability retiree rated at 0% by DoD and the VA will not be subject to COLA reduction.
An unemployable length of service retiree rated 100% P&T by the VA effective the date of retirement will still be subject to the COLA reduction.
An unemployable length of service retiree who sustains a non service connected disability post retirement (e.g. paralyzed from the neck down in a car accident) will still be subject to the COLA reduction.
Many members found unfit by a PEB and rated less than 30% were given the option of receiving a TERA retirement in lieu of a disability separation and severance. A TERA retirement is a length of service retirement. These disabled retirees, deemed by a PEB too disabled to continue military service but became TERA length of service retirees, will still be subject to the COLA reduction.
An unfit member who is eligible for disability retirement under the DES can waive DES processing because they are already eligible for length of service retirement. Many unfit wounded warriors have waived DES processing because they wanted to move on with life and did not want to clog the already stressed DES timeline given they receive the same benefits as a length of service retiree. These disabled retirees will not be protected from COLA reduction.
Military members are not medically retired (Chapter 61) unless they are deemed unfit by a PEB. Fitness is individualized based on one's rank and duties. An infantryman can be deemed unfit for a relatively low impact knee injury that makes him unfit to be an infantryman yet has minimal impact on civilian employment. Conversely, an admin clerk can have a very serious condition that has huge impacts on civilian employment but is deemed fit by a PEB. This disabled retiree, who does not meet military retention standards but nonetheless is deemed fit by a PEB, will not be protected from the COLA reductions despite being rated 100% P&T by the VA and granted SSDI.
You can have two service members, one with 14 years of service and one with 20 years of service, with the exact same level of service connected disability and impact to their fitness. The 14 years of service member receives a chapter 61 disability retirement and is protected from the COLA reduction. The 20 years of service disabled member is deemed fit by presumption, reverts to a length of service retirement, and is subject to the COLA reduction. See the presumption of fitness rules in DODI 1332.38.
My concern is that Congress does not understand the important nuances of the DES system. It appears they only consider chapter 61 retirees to be the only truly disabled retirees deserving of protection from COLA reduction. I personally underwent a MEB and a PEB for reactive arthritis and severe migraines in 2005. My MEB stated both of these conditions failed Army retention standards. My PEB stated I was fit for duty despite the fact I was non deployable, I have physical limitations and I could not take required immunizations. I am also required to suppress my immune system with a FDA black box drug to combat the effects of the reactive arthritis. I retired for length of service and have been rated at 100% P&T by the VA effective the date of my retirement.
History has shown there are huge inequities with the military disability evaluation system. It simply cannot be the barometer of the level of disability worthy of protection from COLA reduction. As you should be aware, the DES timeline is unacceptable long. As a wounded warrior advocate, I (and other advocates) often advise wounded warriors eligible for length of service retirement to forego DES (MEB/PEB) processing because they would receive the same level of DoD/VA compensation as a length of service retiree. Because only chapter 61 retirees will be protected from COLA reductions, the truth has changed. I will now be advising such members to insist on DES processing to gain disability retiree status to protect their retirement from COLA reduction. This will put a additional burden on the already overburdened DES.
It is clear to be that the original legislation and the proposed fix were constructed by members who do not possess a sufficient understanding of military disability issues. Congress is creating two separate classes of disability retirees without consideration of the actual degree of disability and its impact on their post retirement employability.
Michael A. Parker
LTC, USA (Retired)
Wounded Warrior Advocate
“”Had Mitt and I Won, This Would Not Be Necessary””
Oh. And hundreds of millions to Syria is more important.
ryan is dead to me .
+1. What a douche he is.
Those lousy lefty liars didn’t deserve to win.
Still wonder why I rail so much about voting for lesser evils?
Ryan’s political career is dead to me.
They didn’t win and the greater of two evils did
To think that people are actually still talking about him for the White House...
No, the equal of two evils did.
Most disabled vets are not covered under COLA "fix" (see above).
I bet this comes as another surprise to Sen Ayotte, who had been assured just 2 days ago that everything would be fixed:
The Pentagon has determined that the budget deal passed last month cutting $6 billion in military pensions would also reduce survivor benefits, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said Monday. But the cuts to survivor benefits and two other programs related to combat and disability pay will be repealed in the omnibus spending bill, said a senior Senate aide familiar with the government funding measure expected to be released later Monday. "At the end of the day, this will all be addressed," the aide said.
Well, I guess it was not, because according to the Congressional staffer, you could be a 100% disabled retiree in a wheel chair with half your face blown off and you wear 3 Purple Hearts. If you served 20 years and were not medically retired early, your are not even considered disabled and your pension is cut (you don't fall under Part 61......whatever that legal mumbo jumbo means.
What a mess this is.
Active Duty/Retiree ping.
if you people don't think things would be better without bammey and without holder than you better check yourself into the closest mental hosptial because your brains have quit working and dementia has set in......pathetic...just pathetic...
Sorry Vets, the illegals are the votes we're after, not yours, where else are you going to go!
Mitt didn’t want to win. He showed that after he backed off the attack on Obama after the first debate. I believe if he had kept it up, he would be president.
Ryan is a putz
The worst part of the conversation to me was how Ryan lied to Hewitt and said it could not be fixed (even though the voted on it in both houses within 70 hours of introduction last month). Ryan offered “years” of “study” and “maybes” - Hewitt had had enough. He screamed at Ryan that he was using the military disabled and military as pawns, and to STOP holding them hostage. Ryan stammered and then trailed off to his next lie.
Voting for the lesser of two evils, is still voting for evil.
I hope people like that Megan Kelly, even when playing the most annoying devil’s advocate will address the truth, for a change, an important factor, here.
This is about a contract, and breaking the contract.
The government signs a contract guaranteeing these active duty certain money that they count on.
They are taking that promise back. They are, and according to Hugh Hewitt, a Harvard educated, practicing lawyer, breaking that contract, an act that no corporation would do without losing the law suit.
The military has to operate on a code of law, honesty, transparency and not breaking promises. The congress is in charge of the military, the citizens are in charge of congress.
The military work for the citizens, under the authority of the congress and the command of the CIC.
When the military makes a contract with a recruit or an officer, it is bound by the same honor the military guy is expected to uphold. When the citizens break that contract, by allowing congress to do so, there is a major breech of trust, never before experienced.
This is about reneging on the contract breaking trust and also taking money away from the military guy who budgeted that money.
When the congress says it’s not in the budget, it just means they lied to the new recruit in the contract, promising money that was not budgeted for.
The military guy is not the pawn Ryan thinks he is.
It is one thing fro dems to be backstabbing, but the republicans are now doing it and a republican led house taking advantage of those who have no voice, no real representation
And the military will be right in blaming the American citizens for allowing the congress, who work for them to do this theft. Sleazy sleazy shameful theft and breech of contract.
It will have long lasting repercussions.