Tags: military | cuts | budget | review

Sen. Levin: We'll Review Budget Deal's Military Cuts

Saturday, 14 Dec 2013 10:04 AM

By Cathy Burke

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After howls of protest from military groups over pension cuts in a House budget deal, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Friday promised to review the slash, the Military Times reported.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said his committee review along with an ongoing survey by a military commission may “further bear on this issue," the newspaper said.

Editor's Note: 75% of Seniors Make This $152,000 Social Security Mistake

“A number of concerns have been raised about the provision in the Murray-Ryan budget agreement,” Levin said in a statement.

“The Senate Armed Services Committee is going to review this change after we convene next year, before it takes effect in December 2015.”

The provision would restrict the annual pay adjustment of military pensions for working-age military retirees to 1 percentage point less than the rise in consumer prices.

The cut saves $6 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office — but military retirees could lose up to $124,000 in retirement income.

The Military Officers Association of America estimates the provision amounts to a nearly 20 percent gouge in retired pay for soldiers who retire at 20 years, the Military Times reported.

“A 20 percent reduction in retired pay and survivor benefit values is a very substantial cut in military career benefits, and does not represent good faith to our men and women in uniform,” the officers' association president and retired Vice Adm. Norb Ryan told the newspaper.

In an opinion piece for CNN.com Friday, Army wife and writer Rebekah Sanderlin chastised lawmakers for putting military families through a "trying" year.

"With its budget cuts, sequestration and government shutdown, this year has been more trying for military families than the worst of the war years," she wrote. "I'm afraid that after all that my community has given in time, tears and lives, the country we served might be trying to skip out on the check."

It's not just current troops who are affected, Veterans of Foreign Wars national commander William Thien warned — the cut could also jeopardize the nation's all-volunteer military.

“Although Iraq is over and the war in Afghanistan is winding down, we can’t allow Congress to dismantle the programs they created over the past 12 years,” he said.

The cut has also drawn the ire of a number of senators who will next vote on the pact that sailed through the House Thursday.

They include Republicans James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, but Thien said the VFW will press its case to the rest of the upper chamber.

“We know the federal government needs to curb its spending, balance its budget, and put an end to the sequester, but penalizing military retirees is not the solution,” he said.

Editor's Note: 75% of Seniors Make This $152,000 Social Security Mistake

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