Veterans Group Backs Bill to Restore COLA Cuts

There are roughly a dozen proposals to restore the cuts, but it looks like the most recently introduced one is already gaining momentum.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 07: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) holds a news conference to announce their proposed legislation to strengthen Social Security March 7, 2013 in Washington, DC. Sanders and U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) are sponsoring the 'Keepping Our Social Security Promises Act,' which they say will increase payroll taxes on the wealthest and bolster Social Security without raising the retirement age or lowering benefits. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
National Journal
Jordain Carney
Jan. 19, 2014, 4:38 a.m.

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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