Republican New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte is indignant that a provision in the 2013 Bipartisan Budget Act slashes the pay of medically retired veterans, those who receive full military retirement pay and benefits resulting from grave injuries suffered in the line of duty.
Ayotte announced at a news conference that the Pentagon confirmed to her that medically retired vets – previously believed to be exempted — are in fact included in the cuts, which reduce by one percent cost of living raises for military retirees who are not yet 62, The Air Force Times reports.
"It was a challenge to get confirmation from the Defense Department, but they admitted it," she said. "It’s horrendous."
Ayotte has sided with three other GOP senators – Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Oklahoma’s James Inhofe – in opposing the deal based on the provision, which does not impact federal civilian employees.
The military cuts represent $6 billion of the total budget, according to Ayotte, who has filed two amendments to the bill, which she says would make up for the figure, according to CNN
Ayotte told CNN’s Jake Tapper that she does not oppose altering veterans' benefits but thinks the military is being unfairly targeted. Federal civilian employees, other than new hires, are not affected by the cuts.
"I don't understand their priorities here," Ayotte said.
"So if they had their legs blown off in Afghanistan, we're now going to cut their cost of living increase. It's wrong."
The budget deal, crafted by Republican Sen. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, easily passed the House and will require a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate. The vote is scheduled to take place late Wednesday.
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