Rep. Fitzpatrick: Take Budget Burden Off Military Retirees' Backs

Saturday, 21 Dec 2013 09:32 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Republican lawmakers are seeking to undo military retirees' pension cuts that were included in congress' new budget agreement by closing a loophole that allows illegal immigrants to claim cash payments through an IRS tax credit.

Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick says the the Bipartisan Budget Act,  which passed this week, should not place the burden on veterans, reports Fox News.

“This nation desperately needs a return to fiscal normalcy and bipartisan cooperation. While the Bipartisan Budget Act is a step in that direction, it does so partly on the backs of our brave military veterans,” said Fitzpatrick, who proposes closing the immigrants' tax loophole. "What I’ve done is introduce a bill to remove that burden from our military retirees and replace it with common sense reforms."

The legislation offsets added spending for programs such as Head Start and education with about $85 billion cut from other places in the budget, including a provision that reins in cost of living increases for military retirees under the age of 62. That planned cut would save the government $6.3 billion over the next decade.

The IRS mailed out some $4.2 billion in child credit checks to undocumented immigrants in 2010, according to a 2011 Treasury Inspector General Report.

"Millions of people are seeking this tax credit who, we believe, are not entitled to it," the report said.

On Wednesday, just before the Senate voted to pass the budget act, Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions attempted to force a vote on an amendment to undo the military retirees' cuts and close the loophole.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., who worked on the bipartisan package with Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., accused Sessions and Republicans of coming up with the amendment to kill the budget bill.

The bill did not pass without continuing opposition from several powerful lawmakers, including Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida; Rand Paul of Kentucky; and Ted Cruz of Texas, all of whom are potential presidential candidates in 2016.

Republican party leaders Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and John Cornyn of Texas also opposed the budget bill.

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