Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced legislation Thursday that would roll back the pension cuts included in the budget agreement, and he's already getting some key support.
The Veterans' Affairs Committee chairman introduced the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act, calling the bill the product of "a year of bipartisan work."
The bill — a combination of two veterans omnibus bills — tackles a wide range of veterans-related issues, including compensation, health care, administrative fixes at the Veterans Affairs Department, education, veterans' employment, and — an issue on the minds of many members of Congress — restoring the proposed $6 billion plus in cuts to working-age military retirees.
"The American people have spoken very loudly and very clearly. They have told members of Congress to restore these cuts to military retirees, and we have listened," the Vermont independent said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to fast-track the legislation under Rule 14, which will allow the bill to skip the committee process, and be taken up after the Senate returns from recess, a spokesman for Sanders said.
And the Military Officers Association of America came out with some early support for the bill on Friday afternoon, citing the provision to restore the COLA funding. MOAA President Norb Ryan said the group "deeply appreciates" the restoration's inclusion in the legislation.
Under the budget agreement passed late last year, the annual cost-of-living adjustment for working-age military retirees would decrease by a total of 1 percent over 10 years.