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.”