Republican Senators Battle Budget Cuts Targeting Military Retirees

None

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) (L) listens to an aide during a hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee September 26,2 103 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The hearing was focused on the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Legislation.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
Dec. 15, 2013, 7:11 a.m.

A hand­ful of Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans are balk­ing at a pro­vi­sion in the budget deal that would cut be­ne­fits to mil­it­ary re­tir­ees.

The deal would de­crease the an­nu­al cost-of-liv­ing ad­just­ment for work­ing-age mil­it­ary re­tir­ees by 1 per­cent, cut­ting ap­prox­im­ately $6 bil­lion in spend­ing over 10 years.

The deal finds sav­ings by “tar­get­ing mil­it­ary re­tir­ees,” said Sen. James  In­hofe, the top Re­pub­lic­an on the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee. The Ok­lahoma sen­at­or is cur­rently un­de­cided.

And Sens. Ro­ger Wick­er, R-Miss., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Lind­sey Gra­ham, R-S.C., cited the cuts as a de­cid­ing factor in their de­cision to vote against the bill.

The three sent a let­ter to Sen­ate mem­bers Fri­day, call­ing for them to find al­tern­at­ive cuts to those pro­posed in the cur­rent agree­ment.

But the cuts ap­pear likely to re­main in the fi­nal deal, be­cause try­ing to change the terms of the deal now would likely stall it, giv­en that the House has re­cessed for the year.

Out­side groups have also hit back hard against the pro­vi­sion. The Mil­it­ary Co­ali­tion, in a let­ter to House mem­bers, said that if the de­crease in COLA is car­ried out it “will have a dev­ast­at­ing fin­an­cial im­pact for those who re­tire at the 20-year point by re­du­cing re­tired pay by nearly 20 per­cent at age 62.”

And Mike Bar­ron, with the Mil­it­ary Of­ficers As­so­ci­ation of Amer­ica, said that by sug­gest­ing the cuts, mem­bers of Con­gress are hurt­ing a “key re­ten­tion tool” need to help re­tain “a top-qual­ity ca­reer force.”

Bar­ron also said the de­cision un­der­cuts the Mil­it­ary Com­pens­a­tion and Re­tire­ment Mod­ern­iz­a­tion Com­mit­tee, which is ex­pec­ted to look at ways to re­form mil­it­ary pay. Their re­port isn’t due un­til May 2014.

Their ob­jec­tions pit them against lead­ers in the De­fense De­part­ment who have backed the budget deal. De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel, while ac­know­ledging that even with the budget agree­ment the de­part­ment still faces huge fisc­al chal­lenges, said that “it will help ad­dress our mil­it­ary read­i­ness chal­lenge by restor­ing fund­ing for train­ing and pro­cure­ment, es­pe­cially in the cur­rent fisc­al year.”

Even with the cur­rent cuts, Hagel noted that mil­it­ary lead­ers will have to find a bal­ance between the size of the mil­it­ary and its read­i­ness and cap­ab­il­it­ies.

The cur­rent battle could be all for naught, though. Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair­man Carl Lev­in, D-Mich., said that com­mit­tee mem­bers will “re­view this change after we con­vene next year.” The cuts aren’t ex­pec­ted to take ef­fect un­til Decem­ber 2015.

He also sug­ges­ted that Mil­it­ary Com­pens­a­tion and Re­tire­ment Mod­ern­iz­a­tion Com­mit­tee could im­pact the is­sue fur­ther.

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4629) }}

What We're Following See More »
‘PULLING A TRUMP’
GOP Budget Chiefs Won’t Invite Administration to Testify
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

The administration will release its 2017 budget blueprint tomorrow, but the House and Senate budget committees won’t be inviting anyone from the White House to come talk about it. “The chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees released a joint statement saying it simply wasn’t worth their time” to hear from OMB Director Shaun Donovan. Accusing the members of pulling a “Donald Trump,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the move “raises some questions about how confident they are about the kinds of arguments that they could make.”

Source:
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
1 days ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Source:
THE LAST ROUND OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS
Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
1 days ago
THE LATEST

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
IT’S ALL ABOUT SECOND PLACE
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.

Source:
×