WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the Senate Budget and Armed Services Committees, is supporting an amendment to restore $6 billion in cost-of-living cuts to military retirement benefits that were included in the budget deal signed into law last month and to find the savings elsewhere.
“It is unfair to make a promise to members of our military and then – after they have honorably fulfilled every part of their obligation – have their government fail to live up to its part of the bargain,” Wicker said. “This amendment represents fairness for our veterans. Congress needs to keep its promise to those who have voluntarily chosen a life in military service.”
The provision, sponsored by Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., would pay for the reinstatement of the funds by closing a loophole in the U.S. tax code that allows illegal immigrants to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit. A recent report conducted by the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates this change will save approximately $20 billion over the next 10 years.
U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, vice-chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, also cosponsored the Ayotte amendment.
“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,” Cochran said. “This amendment addresses our concerns regarding cuts to benefits for retired and active duty military personnel.”
The amendment, which has been filed to the unemployment benefits legislation, S. 1845, currently being considered by the Senate, would also pay for a three-month extension of temporary unemployment benefits.
In December, Wicker and Cochran voted against final passage of the negotiated Murray-Ryan budget proposal in large part due to the cuts in military retirement benefits.