Service members upset at military cuts proposed in budget
A bipartisan budget plan was approved today by the Senate. It's on it's way to the President's desk. The plan avoids another government shutdown until at least 2015, but military retirement benefit cuts agreed to in it, have some upset.
These cuts won't affect veterans who are already retired. Future retirees would face a one percent reduction in their cost of living pay.
Those cuts, however, will save the government $6. 2 billion.
After outrage over cuts in military retiree benefits, even some in the Senate who voted for the bipartisan budget plan are having second thoughts.
"The mistake must be corrected," said Senator (R) Johnny Isakson, Georgia.
"These heroes lay their lives on the line for us, and they deserve us to work to fix this provision so that they can receive the full benefits that they've earned," said Senator (D) Mark Pryor, Arkansas.
How the budget plan is written now, in two years, service members who retire after at least 20 years of service and are younger than 62, will get 1% less for their cost of living adjustment pay.
Democratic Budget Chair Patty Murray promised new legislation that would make sure this doesn't effect wounded servicemen and women or those killed in action.
"This action, military action doesn't take effect for two years so we welcome anybody coming with a better way to do it that want to offer it and get it through a divided Congress," said Murray.
To break it down, a retiring Army Sergeant First Class or E-7 pay grade you would lose $3,700 a year, over time possibly totalling $80,000 in lost benefits.
"Of all the people we could have picked on to screw how, could we have arrived here? How could we have done this?," asked Senator (R) Lindsey Graham, South Carolina.
John Mccain disagrees with Lindsey Graham. He says cuts in military pensions are necessary.
"In the words of former Secretary of Defense Mr. Gates said that these entitlements in the military are - quote - eating us alive," said Senator (R) John McCain, Arizona.
Pensions cost the U.S. $52 billion last year and went up by nearly half over the past decade.