WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement today regarding testimony from a senior Department of Defense official regarding recent cuts to veterans’ pension payments:
“I was pleased to see Christine Fox, Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Defense, agree with the need to fix the veterans’ pension cuts contained in the recent budget deal. These cuts could amount to a more than 60 percent reduction in COLA adjustments for those who served and are serving now.
However, I do not agree Congress can afford to wait to implement these fixes. Our military servicemembers answered the call of duty without hesitation. We owe them swift, diligent action to fix these unfair cuts with smarter and more intelligent offsets like those that have been proposed. For instance, I continue to believe that—if put to a direct vote—there could be bipartisan support for a plan that would reverse the cuts and instead close a tax credit loophole which allows illegal immigrants to claim benefits to which they are not legally entitled. This would be the definition of common sense.”
In prepared testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee today, Acting Deputy Secretary Fox stated: “The Department supports a comprehensive review of the CPI-minus-one provision, including its effect on retirees not exempted by the FY14 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. Examples of issues to examine include whether to repeal the provision entirely, or to include it in an overarching restructuring of the military retirement system. If the Congress decides to retain the CPI-minus-one approach, we strongly recommend it be modified to include grandfathering, the approach the Department supports for any changes affecting military retirement.”