WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the Senate Budget Committee, today introduced an amendment to restore full retirement pay for current and future military retirees. The current Ryan-Murray budget agreement cuts retirement benefits for these retirees by more than $6 billion. The amendment is cosponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss.
“These proposed cuts represent a broken promise to those who have voluntarily chosen to serve our nation in the military,” Senator Roger Wicker said. “This is not a matter of nickels and dimes for our retired and active-duty troops. It is unfair to ask the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States to shoulder the full weight of these cuts. It is not too late for Congress to keep its promises to our military personnel. I urge my colleagues to join us in passing this amendment without delay.”
“Our men and women in uniform have served admirably during some of our nation’s most troubling times,” said Senator Lindsey Graham. “They deserve more from us in their retirement than this agreement provides. Simply put, it doesn’t do enough to protect those who have spent their lives protecting our nation.”
“America’s servicemembers have already sacrificed so much on our behalf and Congress should not put additional burdens on them even as it spares federal civilian workers from the same treatment,” said Senator Jeff Sessions. “Certainly we should instead scour the federal budget for other available savings. Removing this unbalanced treatment of our military retirees ought to be one of the key actions we should take before this legislation moves forward. In fact, greater savings than this can be achieved by passing a legislative fix recommended by the Inspector General of the U.S. Treasury that would stop the IRS from improperly providing tax credits to illegal aliens.”
“Under the Obama Administration, our military has borne the cost of Washington’s fiscal recklessness time and time again,” said Senator Jim Inhofe. “The Ryan-Murray budget deal cherry picked once again from our men and women in uniform to strip away from the retirement benefit they have earned by their service. Last year Congress established the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission to provide a comprehensive review of opportunities for meaningful pay and benefit reform. That Commission was told they could recommend any option as long as it grandfathered those who currently serve and those who are currently retired. Congress should keep its promises and should do everything possible to maintain the sacred vow our country has made to those who have honorably served our country.”
“This amendment addresses our continued concern with further cuts to benefits for retired and active duty military personnel,” said Senator Thad Cochran. “There is no justification in first turning to those who have served or are serving in the military and asking them to make new sacrifices.”
The Ryan-Murray budget deal automatically subtracts a full percentage point from annual cost-of-living increases. The Military Officers Association of America issued a report showing that military personnel “who serve a 20 year career would lose nearly 20 percent of their retired pay. An E-7 retiring at age 40 today would experience a loss of $83,000 in purchasing power – an O-5 would lose $124,000.”
On Friday, Wicker and Graham joined Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., in a letter to their Senate colleagues calling for a bipartisan solution to replace the $6.3 billion in cuts to military retiree benefits.
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