By Debbie Gregory.
Lawmakers are facing a huge fight- the provocation sparks from the military pension cuts that were part of Congress’ hastily approved budget last December. For everyone’s sake, the fight should come from within the House and the Senate. If it doesn’t, everyone may take sides against Congress and its members in future elections for years to come.
Democrat and Republican politicians are individually saying that they will demand the quick repeal of military retirement cuts. The cuts to military pensions are expected to return approximately $6 billion back to the federal budget.
The approved budget and its pension cuts were part of an agreement struck between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who chair the budget panel for their respective houses. The agreement replaced $63 billion in automatic spending cuts in 2014 and 2015, while reducing long-term deficits by a total of $85 billion. Reducing military pensions was an essential part of the deal that also called for reduced pensions for civilian federal workers.
Opponents of the cuts to Veteran pensions say that a Sergeant First Class who retires at age 42 would lose $72,000 in retirement pay over his/her lifetime, due to the cuts. This reduction equates to three years-worth of benefits lost.
Law makers have already agreed to make one change- they plan on reversing pension cuts for former service members who were retired for medical reasons. Apparently, medically retired Veterans were included in the agreement due to a “technical error.”
Capitol Hill should prepare itself for a major battle as law makers from both parties who support the reversal of Veteran pension cuts will do so with the full support of Veterans groups and organizations. Military and Veterans groups voice that the decision to target existing retirees and current service members, rather than changing benefits only for future personnel, is breaking a promise made to those who serve and have served.
The military pension cuts are not scheduled to take effect until 2016. This leaves plenty of time to fight this unscrupulous attack on those who have served their country during a time of war, in order to reap the benefits of their sacrifice. Everyone is urged to voice their concern for military pensions to their congressmen and senators in order to persuade them that the sacrifices can’t be taken back, so the rewards should not be taken away either.
Everyone wants to “Support the Troops.” Here’s your chance. Join the fight and show your support.