Report: White House Mum on Restoring Cuts to Veterans' Benefits

Monday, 06 Jan 2014 12:56 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The Obama administration is remaining silent as pressure grows to restore the cost-of-living benefits of military veterans that were cut by 1 percent across the board in the federal budget deal, Buzzfeed reports.

"It is a big surprise for us," retired Air Force Col. Michael Hayden, a Newsmax and LIGNET contributor, told Buzzfeed's Evan McMorris-Santoro.

"We're really kind of surprised the chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] and the Joint Chiefs haven't come out and said this is wrong."

Hayden, director of government relations for the Military Officers Association of America, told Buzzfeed his group has conducted "informational" conversations with the White House about the cuts, but has gotten no feedback.

Tom Tarantino, government affairs director at the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told Buzzfeed: "I would like to see the president be more vocal."

Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, a Democrat, last month promised a fix a provision in the bill that gouges military retirees' benefits beginning in two years.

Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, a Republican, negotiated the deal which passed both houses of Congress.

But the bill's provision to slice $6 billion in benefits has triggered fierce criticism.

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