WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., joined Senators Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Kay Hagan, D-N.C., Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Angus King, I-Maine, and Mark Warner, D-Va., to call for passage of legislation, S.1963, legislation that would repeal the reduction in the cost of living adjustment (COLA) to military retirees' pay. Sen. Landrieu, a cosponsor of the legislation, was also joined by representatives from Veterans' organizations, including The Retired Enlisted Association, the National Guard Association, Vietnam Veterans of America and the Military Officers Association of America. On Monday, February 19, 2014, the U.S. Senate cleared a major procedural hurdle when 94 senators of both parties voted to proceed to this bill. In Louisiana, approximately 9,500 military retirees would benefit from a repeal of the COLA reduction.
"Over 20 years ago, Congress' cuts to military retirees' benefits were having an adverse effect on the retention rate of dedicated service members," Sen. Landrieu said. "We won't make that mistake again. Louisiana has over 9,000 military retirees who dedicated their lives to serving our country. We made a promise to them, and it's important for us to hold up our end of the bargain. We're not just talking about percentages, numbers and figures when it comes to COLA's. We're talking about benefits our service men and women have earned that will be used to start a business or raise a family. This legislation is the answer to this problem, and Congress should be working tirelessly to restore the COLA's our military deserve."
In 2014, military retirees receive an annual COLA of 1.5 percent. Under the Bipartisan Budget Agreement passed by Congress in 2013, military retirees under the age of 62 would see their COLA reduced by 1 percent beginning in 2015. The budget agreement included an end to the automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, which would have devastated Louisiana communities and harmed important Louisiana priorities.