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.
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Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."
"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.