Even if cuts to cost-of-living increases for some military veterans are repealed, the damage already is done, and we’re not talking about money.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 that Congress approved and the president signed included a 1 percent “cut” to future cost of living adjustments to retirement pay for military veterans’ younger than 62.
First, let’s be clear about the nature of the so-called cut.
No one’s income will drop, but future increases won’t be as large. Also, disabled veterans are exempted from it. The “cut” is projected to save $6.2 billion over the next 10 years. When it comes to the federal budget, that’s not even a drop in the bucket.
Second, don’t expect it to be around very long.
Just when it seemed Washington gridlock is a way of life, this budget came along. Neither side got everything it wanted, but a compromise was enacted which eliminated the threat of another protracted fight and possible government shutdown. In the end, Congress passed what it could, knowing the most egregious portions later can be fine-tuned.
No one really wants to deprive veterans of their due. Not just because it’s politically unpopular, but because it’s wrong.
To that end, a number of lawmakers already have signed on to bills that would repeal the retirees’ cuts, including Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
Paul and Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, introduced the Uphold Our Promise to Veterans Act, known as Senate Bill 1930 and House Resolution 3807. In a joint statement, Paul and Poe said, “Congress and the president broke a financial promise to the veterans of this nation.” .
“We owe it to the men and women who have served in our armed forces to protect their livelihood, just as they have protected ours, ” Paul added.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 does more than break a promise. It breaks a covenant. We owe veterans more than that.
When civilians enter military service, they raise their right hands and swear to protect the Constitution. Implied in that affirmation is the very real knowledge that to do so means putting their lives on the line.
Members of Congress also swear to uphold the Constitution, too, but their oath is a bit more pedestrian.
We have the best military in the world and it is all volunteer. Without absolute faith that both sides will honor the covenant, how many young men and women in the future will be willing to sign up for such a one-sided deal?
— The News-Enterprise, Elizabethtown, Ky.