Schumer: Veterans — Not Congress — Must Face Budget Cuts

Monday, 16 Dec 2013 11:33 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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It's time for retired veterans to face cuts as the federal government looks for ways to trim expenditures, Sen. Chuck Schumer said Monday.

"Civilian federal employees have been cut, cut, cut. I think there was a feeling, if you're going to cut them further, which was done, that the military retirees should have about an equal amount. It's small," the New York Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

In the budget plan brokered by Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, military service personnel under the age of 62 would take a one percent cut to retirement benefits. The move has drawn fire from military and veterans organizations.

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"I think (Rep.) Paul Ryan and (Sen.) Patty Murray looked everywhere they could to try and find compromise. Everybody had to take a little," Schumer said.

"They're going to have to pay a tiny, little bit into it, which they never have," he added.
But Schumer maintained members of Congress should not be forced to take a pay cut. He said they have already sacrificed, since they have not seen a pay raise "in a long time," and explained most of them are paying more for healthcare insurance.

"We have taken pretty big cuts," he said.

The bill will pass the Senate, Schumer predicted, and said Democrats would "reluctantly vote for it" because they realize the threat of a government shutdown is a "brutal alternative."

The expiration of unemployment benefits in the proposed budget has been a sticking point for some Democrats. Schumer said it would be an issue that would be handled later.

"We'll make a shot at trying to do unemployment insurance separately. And, then, work on it next year," he said.

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