A budget compromise was needed by both sides–establishment Republicans and Democrats for different reasons. The Republicans did not want to be blamed for another shutdown when the Continuing Resolution (CR) expired or when the debt ceiling needed to be raised (that day is rapidly approaching and there are no guarantees that either side will handle it well). The Democrats needs to pass a budget (for the first time in five years) to change the subject from ObamaCare. Each side had their reasons. However, it bothers me that both side were willing to throw the veterans who served our country and went to war at the request of Congress under the bus.
Yesterday the Washington Free Beacon reported that the budget compromise which has passed the House of Representatives could cost military service retirees as much as $124,000 in retirement pay.
The article reports:
The Washington Free Beacon reported that under the budget agreement crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D., Wash.), military retirees younger than 62 will receive 1 percentage point less in their annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
While new federal employees who are hired after Jan. 1, 2014 will be required to pay 1.3 percent more of their pay into their pension plans, federal retirees will continue to receive their generous pension benefits and current employees will not be required to pay more.
Please excuse my cynicism, but note that the federal employees have unions–the military does not. Unions make very large political contributions–the military does not. This is a horrible perversion of priorities. We ask our soldiers to risk their lives, and then we cut their pensions rather than cutting the pensions of civil servants who work in safety. That is simply awful.
The article reports:
A loss of one percentage point in their COLA translates into thousands of dollars in lost retirement income.
For instance, a 42-year-old who retires as an enlisted E-7 could lose a minimum of $72,000. E-7 refers to the ranks of Sergeant First Class, Chief Petty Officer (CPO), Master Sergeant, and Gunnery Sergeant.
A 42-year old Lieutenant Colonel could lose a minimum of $109,000 over a 20-year period.
If an E-7 retires at 40, they would lose $83,000. Commissioned officers could lose much more. Lieutenant colonels and commanders (an O-5 rank) who retire at 40 would lose $124,000.
…Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) has also come out against the deal late Thursday.
“I cannot support a budget agreement that fails to deal with the biggest drivers of our debt, but instead pays for more federal spending on the backs of our active duty and military retirees – those who have put their lives on the line to defend us,” Ayotte said in a statement.
“My hope is that both parties can work together to replace these unfair cuts that impact our men and women in uniform with more responsible savings, such as the billions that the Government Accountability Office has identified in waste, duplication and fraud across the federal government.”
It will be interesting to see if this part of the bill gets changed. If not, everyone who voted for the compromise should be voted out of office.