By Debbie Gregory.
A proposal made by Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is intended to benefit military retirees. The Fitzpatrick Bill is part of a mainly republican backed effort to redirect funding cuts that are currently aimed at military pensions.
Recently, a bipartisan budget agreement was approved by both the Senate and the House. The budget included plans that would ultimately save the government approximately $85 billion over ten years. Part of the savings is intended to come from drastically reducing annual cost of living increases for military retirees who are under the age of 62. Cuts made to military pensions are expected to save the government approximately $6.3 billion over the next ten years.
In 2011, the Treasury Inspector General reported that the IRS issued approximately $4.2 billion in child tax credit checks to illegal immigrants. Through a loophole that is still present, illegal aliens have been able to claim payments from the IRS through refundable child tax credit.
Before the budget agreement was passed on December 18th, a push was made to vote on an amendment to the budget. The amendment was designed to eliminate the cuts to military retirees’ pensions and simultaneously close the child tax credit loophole for illegal immigrants. The amendment was shot down by Senate Budget Committee Chairman, Patty Murray, who claimed that the amendment was really an attempt to squash the entire budget.
The Fitzpatrick Bill is hoping to succeed where the amendment push failed. It is proposing to completely eliminate all reductions that are expected to affect military retirement benefits and replace the expected government savings by eliminating the current loophole that allows illegal aliens to claim cash payments through refundable child tax credit.
In these harsh economic times, it is naïve to believe that cuts would not be made to government spending and that different groups have different desires and agendas. But as a country, we must take care of our Veterans at all cost. The way that our nation treats its Veterans today not only affects the future safety of our nation, but our ability to defend our nation and its interests throughout the world. Our military is an all-volunteer force that solely runs on the ability to entice new recruits. The American military’s ability to keep key members in their ranks long enough to be promoted into experience-required leadership roles is what makes it the elite fighting force that it is.
If our government fails to take care of Veterans today, what chance does the U.S. military have at recruiting and retaining a force of any worth going forward?