GOP senators trying to salvage military pensions
A Republican senator has introduced an amendment aimed at protecting military pensions from cuts contained in the budget bill heading for final approval this week.
On Monday, Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, introduced an amendment to restore full retirement pay for current and future military retirees. The current budget agreement worked out by Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) and Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) cuts benefits by more than $6 billion.
Wicker believes the proposed cuts represent a “broken promise” to those who have voluntarily chosen to serve their nation in the military. He adds it’s “not a matter of nickels and dimes” for veterans.
“Over the course of a lifetime it cost the average enlisted guy about $80,000; the average officer some $120,000,” he says. “It’s just a stunning reversal of a commitment that Uncle Sam has made to these soldiers.”
And it is unfair, he says, for those who wear the uniform of the United States to shoulder the full weight of these cuts. But Wicker says both time and patience are running out for his amendment in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
“My view is that we have very, very little chance of getting it passed,” he admits. “Members of the House and Senate have run out of patience, run out of time; they’re in a hurry to get home for Christmas and so am I. Our chances of correcting this before it goes into effect are very, very remote, I have to admit.”
Wicker says final passage of the budget bill could come as early as Wednesday afternoon and the president could sign it into law Thursday or Friday.
On Tuesday, Wicker and other GOP senators also pressed their colleagues to find another avenue for the cuts after receiving confirmation from the Defense Department that the retiree cuts in the Murray-Ryan plan will also impact disabled veterans.