Friday, January 03, 2014
Dear Master Chief Petty Officer [FOD]:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the budget resolution and its unacceptable and disproportionate impact on military retirement cost-of-living adjustments (COLA). I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
On December 19, 2013, the Senate passed H.J.Res.59, a step towards finalizing the first federal budget in four years. While I voted for final passage and believe that this bipartisan budget deal is necessary to giving our federal agencies, and specifically the Department of Defense, the fiscal certainty needed to complete our vital missions and provide for our warfighters currently deployed in harm's way, I am deeply concerned about the impact it will have on military retirees.
Section 403 of H.J.Res.59 imposes a one percent reduction on military retirement COLA for all retirees under the age of 62. Unlike similar provisions for their civilian federal employee counterparts, current military retirees are not grandfathered in, causing our veterans to bear a disproportionate burden of our deficit reduction. This is totally unacceptable.
Therefore, I introduced S.Res.323 on December 19, 2013, expressing the sense of the Senate that retirees from the Armed Forces should not unfairly bear the burden of excessive government spending. Military retirees earned the benefits they were promised upon entering military service, and it is the duty of the Senate to protect them. The Senate should seek alternatives to the current military retirement provisions in the budget. I also intend to introduce legislation to fully repeal the military retiree COLA reductions and replace them with an equivalent offset from elsewhere in the budget.
It is important to remember that the current military COLA reduction provision does not take effect until December 1, 2015. I am committed to fully repealing this inequitable section prior to 2015. I understand your concerns, and will keep your thoughts in mind as the Senate continues to debate this important issue.