• August 30, 2014

Local vets react to benefits cut

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Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013 4:30 am

Military retirees will see fewer cost-of-living adjustments on their retirement pay thanks to the new budget passed by Congress on Wednesday.

In the agreement, any inflation adjustments for military retiree pensions will be reduced by 1 percent for working-age military retirees, to include medically retired service members. The reduction begins Dec. 1, 2015, and affects retirees younger than 62. For example, if the change went into effect immediately, the 2014 adjustment of 1.5 percent would be reduced to 0.5 percent.

While U.S. Reps. John Carter, R-Round Rock, and Roger Williams, R-Austin, voted for the measure in the House, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, supported an amendment in the Senate version of the budget that would have removed it.

“I hope members of both parties can put politics aside for one minute, come together and address the needs of our military families and those who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to preserve our freedom,” Cornyn said during his floor speech Wednesday.

Scot Arey, a Harker Heights resident and retired colonel, said he was upset not only with the impact on retirees, but also how the measure was added so late in the game.

Because retirees aren’t a solidified voting block, Arey said, “I feel like we were easy pickings.”

The Military Officers Association of America has been very outspoken against the inflation reduction.

“As an organization, we’re not happy about it at all,” said Pat Christ, former Central Texas chapter president and soon-to-be state president of the organization. “We plan to use whatever pressure we can to try and change them.”

While he agrees a budget needed to be passed, it shouldn’t come at the expense of military retirees who served their country, he said. “We think that our military members have been slighted in this particular situation. We will continue to fight to get it re-established.”

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3 comments:

  • Eliza posted at 5:25 am on Fri, Dec 20, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 723

    @ Upon reaching 62, retirees would receive a “catch-up” increase that would restore their pensions to levels as if the cost-of-living adjustment had been the full consumer price index in all previous years. The change would save $6 billion.
    The Associated Press


    The above reasoning is kind of 'dumb' --- What of the retirees who may not live to the age of 62 years. Their earned entitlement will be forever lost.

     
  • Bubba posted at 2:23 pm on Thu, Dec 19, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 683

    Imagine my disappointment at your enthusiasm for this bill as the budget proposal includes a complex plan to increase existing TRICARE Prime enrollment fees, implement new fees for TRICARE Standard and future TRICARE-for-Life beneficiaries, and phase-in higher pharmacy co-pays over four years. Additionally, the budget also proposes using the chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) to calculate future Cost-of-Living-Adjustments (COLA) for military retirees, veterans and Social Security recipients. The chained CPI would be used in lieu of the current CPI and would generally reduce COLA increases by 0.2 to 0.3 percent.
    When I voted for you and put you in office, I did so with the understanding that you understood that in the heart of your new district lies Bell, Coryell, and Lampasas counties, which are heavily populated with active duty military personnel, military retirees, and veterans receiving disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The vast majority of these citizens are TRICARE enrollees as well.
    Perhaps it was easy for members of Congress, many of whom have never served a day in uniform, like yourself, to stab our military personnel and retirees in the back in order to fund the future wasteful spending of the federal government. Perhaps it was just politics and game planning, to make a deal to avoid negative publicity, that drove this deal, as few members of Congress will be affected by this betrayal.
    I call it a betrayal as our veterans have served their country for large portions of their lives, and then retired from active duty, trusting that their government will live up to its promises to care for them and protect their entitlements. This deal does exactly the opposite.
    So basically, the support of our military community is a lie for the House of Representatives.
    I fully expect you to see the error of your ways and propose or support an amendment to this bill reversing or removing these provisions that betray and punish our veteran community. I fully expect that as a member of the Budget Committee, you will find another way to pay the government's bills that does not include trampling on retired, disabled Soldiers. You could start by reining in Health and Human Services, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Internal Revenue Service.
    Do this and you may again have my vote. Fail to do so and I will campaign against you in the district and seek your removal as my representative at the earliest possible opportunity.

     
  • Bubba posted at 2:17 pm on Thu, Dec 19, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 683

    I have informed Rep. Williims that I intend to see him removed from office over this vote.