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Reversing course, Congress restores military pension increases

REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Veterans groups argued against the cuts, concerned about their impact on veterans whose costs are above and beyond their Veterans Affairs benefits packages.

Some veterans need to buy special beds to deal with service injuries, for example, but VA programs only provide for twin beds — individuals have to pay for anything bigger than that. Between 2008 and 2011 when there wasn’t a cost-of-living increase in pension rates, “that is pretty hard for some of our veterans … Not having that cost of living hurts.”

“It’s something that we frown on, that the government would not ensure cost of living for our veterans,” he said.

But some congressional budget writers and outside groups argue this plan would have only nicked what’s become a growing part of the federal budget: compensation costs for veterans. Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, who proposed the cut, voted against undoing it this week, arguing, “[compensation costs] are taking resources away from training and modernization — and putting our troops at risk. This bill takes away over $6 billion from military readiness.”

Rep. Tim Walz

“They kind of feel like they paid their co-pays and their share in Kandahar and Baghdad or back to Vietnam,” he said. “But they say, if we have to do more, just let us know and ask us on this. And the answer might be yes. But on this one, it felt to them like it was snuck on in the middle of the night, it went through on a must-pass bill where a lot of people were forced to vote on it.”

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Paul Linnee on 02/14/2014 - 10:47 am.

    Use of the term VETERANS is misleading

    This article misleads by its use of the term VETERAN’S to refer to the benefit that was to have been curtailed by the now reversed legislation. The correct term is RETIREE. The term VETERAN means (in law) any person who has spent over 180 days (exclusive of…..meaning over and above….training) in the U.S. Military. Therefore, a typical Army enlistee for a three year hitch, who then gets out is a VETERAN but is not and never will be a military RETIREE. To be a retiree, you must spend 20 years (or more) on active duty or in the Reserves or National Guard, and then if the time was spent on active duty you are eligible for a pension immediately upon retirement, or if in the Guard/Reserve you must reach the age of 60 before getting a pension.

    Inappropriate usage of the term Veteran tends confer a sort of heroic status on the folks who would have lost 1% of whatever their COLA would otherwise have been up until the age of 62, while in reality said ‘cut’ would have applied to everyone who spent 20 years in uniform whether they ever left the States or ever saw a day of combat or hostile area action.

  2. Submitted by David Gresham on 01/05/2016 - 03:04 pm.

    Retirees are veterans too. It SHOULD confer a heroic status to men and women that put in decades of service. Stop with the spin.

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