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Lindsey Graham: Cuts to Veterans' Pensions 'Unconscionable'

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 04:47 PM

The controversial cuts made to the pension benefits of military retirees are "unconscionable" and a "low point" for Congress, says Sen. Lindsey Graham.

"[It is] unconscionable for the United States Congress, particularly Republicans, to have done this to our retired community," Graham, an Air Force veteran, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"Somebody felt it was a good idea to take $6 billion away from our military retirees by doing the following: taking their cost of living allowance and reducing it by 1 percent retroactively.

"If you're an E-7, a master sergeant retiring at 42, by the time you get to 62, you lose almost $80,000 in retirement benefits. If you're a lieutenant colonel retiring in 2016 at 42 or 44, you lose over $100,000. Not one group in the entire country was asked to make this sacrifice."

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Graham, R-N.C., and others worked to "fix" the cuts, and military retirees with medical disabilities and some military widows will get a pass in the bipartisan budget deal. But the majority of veterans will still lose some benefits.

"[The] only people in America that had their cost-of-living adjustment adjusted were the military retired community retroactively. So, after 20 years of honorable service that's completed in 2016, you've probably been to Iraq or Afghanistan at least once or twice, you've had your ass shot off if you're in the fighting force, and this is the way we reward you?" Graham said.

"We gave them a penalty retroactively applied. Not one group in America had the pleasure of this great deal . . . We picked the military retirement community who has given us 20 years of honorable service, maybe 30. They missed countless vacations, countless Christmases, countless time with their family, and this is the way you get rewarded? It's a low point in my time in Congress."



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The controversial cuts made to the pension benefits of military retirees are "unconscionable" and a "low point" for Congress, says Sen. Lindsey Graham.
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