2013 is on track to be one of the least productive years that Congress has ever had. But even when politicians disagree on most issues, supporting veterans and military families has always been a bipartisan priority. This year, however, not only has Congress failed to pass any major package of veterans legislation, but it is also on track to finish out the year with a big stick in the eye to veterans as one of its last acts before packing up and going home.
Last week the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a budget agreement that relieved the strain of sequestration by cutting benefits for military retirees and their families. Today, the U.S. Senate also voted overwhelmingly to move that deal forward, virtually guaranteeing that the budget deal will be sealed by the time the Senate packs up and goes home at the end of this week.
Despite ubiquitous proclamations that everyone supports troops, veterans, and military families, few have been willing to stand up and speak out about this raw deal. This morning, however, Senator Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire, Senator Roger Wicker from Mississippi, and Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina joined representatives from IAVA, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Military Officers Association of America, the American Legion, and others to voice opposition to cutting military benefits as part of the budget deal.
In this video, IAVA’s Chief Policy Officer Tom Tarantino talks about how balancing the budget on the backs of those who have sacrificed the most is not only bad policy, but it’s breaking faith with the commitment our nation has made with service members and their families.
While Congress is set to approve the budget agreement, we will not stop fighting to stop the changes to military retirement. If you haven’t already, please sign our petition on this critical issue.