A $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday this week, continues to punish the pockets of military retirees. I wrote earlier this month about the budget deal that hurt veterans by eliminating Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) from their pensions – resulting in thousands of dollars taken out of the pockets of retirees under the age of 62. The current legislation keeps the 1% decrease in COLA, which will be a huge blow to service members and commissioned officers.
According to a recent report, “Enlisted service members could lose a minimum of $72,000 over a 20 year period of their retirement, while commissioned officers could face up to $124,000 in lost compensation.”
With a second chance to put money back in the pockets of those who have served our country, Congress has faltered once again. Eighty-two percent of veterans still face significant losses in their retirement pay, only exempting disabled veterans receiving Chapter 61 benefits. This bill restores benefits for only 17.5% of military retirees, while leaving intact generous benefits for federal civil employees.
This bipartisan deal is disappointing and simply unfair. Federal civil employees are allowed to keep their benefits on the backs of the people who have sacrificed so much for our country – our veterans.
Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe’s comments are telling: “The fact that we even have to take efforts to restore these retirement benefits in the first place is troubling,” he said. “This is a benefit these men and women were promised when they joined the services and earned by dedicating their lives to protect our national security.”
Learn more about the spending bill’s impact on military retiree pensions and COLA here: