Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement relating to his vote to pass the Ryan-Murray budget in the U.S. Senate:
"There are provisions in the Ryan-Murray budget that I do not support, but this agreement averts another government shutdown, establishes certainty for Americans families and businesses and reduces the deficit by $23 billion without raising taxes. I believe the Fiscal Year 2014 and 2015 budget limits should have been retained, but the measure reduces spending by extending the Budget Control Act an additional two years, through 2023. Importantly, the agreement enables us to prioritize decisions to find savings and reforms, rather than applying automatic across-the-board cuts.
"Specifically with regard to the military, the agreement provides more resources for defense, while enabling us to prioritize programs and find savings where appropriate. I do not, however, support a provision in the measure that reduces the cost-of-living adjustment for military retirees under age 62. I believe we will have an opportunity to fix this provision before it is implemented at the end of 2015, two years from now. A special Department of Defense commission is already evaluating broader reforms to the military benefit system and this provision will be addressed again. Also, I have spoken with Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who intends to work with the military commission to address this issue. Several pieces of legislation are already being drafted to address the issue when we reconvene in January.
"My view is that any change in military retirement benefits should be prospective, applying only to new recruits, and not retrospective, applying to the men and women who have already served our country. We must do all we can to honor our commitment to them.
"We need to continue to find savings, combined with meaningful reforms that will encourage economic growth, create jobs and generate revenues to reduce our deficit and debt without increasing taxes."