“Cut military pensions instead of cutting welfare for illegal immigrants…”
Reporter Elizabeth Harrington of The Washington Free Beacon dropped a bombshell on Dec. 17, 2013 after obtaining government documentation revealing that the architects of the Ryan-Murray Budget deal will not only uniquely target retirees from the Uniformed Services with 20+ years service (versus including civilian federal workers). Members of the military who were medically retired for wounds received will also face huge cuts to their annual Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA) increases if the law goes through.
The Washington Free Beacon isn’t the only news organ reporting that disabled vets also face cost of living cuts. Fox News of Washington, DC reported that veterans groups are incensed, “particularly after officials confirmed that the curtailment would apply to the retirement benefits of veterans who leave the service on disability.”
An original copy of a summary of the Ryan-Murray deal, obtained by the Free Beacon, explicitly stated that disabled veterans would be exempt from any cuts in benefits:
This provision modifies the annual cost-of-living adjustment for working-age military retirees by making the adjustments equal to inflation minus 1 percent,’ reads the summary, which was sent on Dec. 10. ‘This change would be gradually phased in, with no change for the current year, a 0.25 percent decrease in December 2014, and a 0.5 percent decrease in December 2015.
This would not affect servicemembers who retired because of disability or injury.
Amazingly, the sentence relating to disabled retirees has magically vanished from the updated summary now posted on the House Budget Committee website.
The Ryan-Murray deal affects Chapter 71, Section 1401 of the United States Code, which deals with the pay of military retirees. As the code is currently written, servicemembers can be eligible for early Chapter 61 retirement if it is determined that, due to a physical disability, that individual is no longer able to perform the duties of their office, grade, or rank.
The individual must hold a disability rating of 30% or more according to Department of Defense standards, and the disability must be the proximate result of performing their duties during a time of war or national emergency.
As an example, if a medically retired Sergeant of Marines (Pay Grade E-5) with 10 years worth of service were to see his COLA changed by the current scheme, he would lose roughly $50,000 of earned compensation over a period of 40 years.
As reported by Fox News on Dec. 18, 2013, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is one of the most vocal opponents of the current proposed budget deal.
The Alabama Senator opened fire from the Senate floor:
They [fellow members of Congress] voted to cut pensions for Wounded Warriors.
Senators in this chamber have many valid ideas for replacing these pension cuts, including my proposal to close the tax welfare loophole for illegal filers, and all deserved a fair and open hearing.
But they were denied.
Sessions’ office claimed the vote Tuesday to financially hammer veterans was a vote to “cut military pensions instead of cutting welfare for illegal immigrants.”