U.S. Senators Mark Pryor (AR), Kay Hagan (NC), Mark Begich (AK), Mary Landrieu (LA), Bill Nelson (FL), Mark Warner (VA), Angus King (ME), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Brian Schatz (HI), and Tim Kaine (VA) today called on their colleagues to support the Military Retirement Pay Restoration bill, which would correct an inequity in the budget agreement and restore full retirement pay for military retirees. On Monday, the bill passed a key Senate procedural hurdle. The Senate will vote on final passage later this week.
"I'm the first to admit that we need to cut our spending, but we must do it responsibly. I refuse to balance the budget on the backs of our hardworking men and women in uniform and their families who sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms and defend our way of life," Senator Pryor said. "We've made a commitment, and we need to honor that commitment by ensuring our service members receive the benefits they've earned. It's time to put the partisanship aside and pass this bill. Our military members and their families are counting on us."
"By passing this bill, we can keep our promise to our veterans and future military retirees, who have selflessly answered the call to duty and do not deserve to have their retirement benefits cut," said Senator Hagan. "I urge my colleagues to support our legislation that will ensure current and future military retirees receive the benefits they have earned."
"We must keep our promises to our veterans--no exceptions," said Senator Begich. "These brave men and women have earned these benefits through their service to our country. Our bill cleared an important Senate hurdle last night, but I will not stop fighting until these benefits have been restored."
"Over 20 years ago, Congress' cuts to military retirees' benefits were having an adverse effect on the retention rate of dedicated service members," Senator Landrieu said. "We won't make that mistake again. Louisiana has over 9,500 military retirees who dedicated their lives to serving the 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."
"There really is no way to fully repay someone who puts their life on the line for you, but we do what we can," Senator Nelson said. "That's why we should pass this legislation."
"Our service men and women deserve better than seeing their pensions arbitrarily cut, and I am pleased we will fix this well before the cut is set to take effect in December 2015," Senator Warner said. "I am proud to support this legislation today, and I will use every tool I can to fight pension cuts that unfairly single out Virginia military families."
"There are many ways to responsibly shrink the debt and deficit and gain a better hold on spending, but reducing the cost of living adjustment for our nation's veterans is not the way to do it," Senator King said. "Our veterans have earned these benefits through their service to our country, and we have an obligation to honor their sacrifices. I'm pleased to join my colleagues in the effort to restore these benefits."
"The Military Retirement Pay Restoration bill is the right thing to do and will ensure that over 6,000 Wisconsin military veterans receive the benefits they've earned and deserve," said Senator Baldwin. "This is a commonsense measure built on the idea that we should keep our promise to military veterans. It is my hope that we can work across party lines and get this done for our military members, veterans and their families."
"The last place we should be looking for savings is in reductions to military retiree benefits. These people put their lives on the line and we need to hold up our end of the bargain and make sure they get every dollar they were promised after careers of service to our country," said Senator Schatz. "We need to pass this bill and reverse any pay changes before they have a chance to go into effect."
"We owe it to military families in Virginia and across the country to pass this legislation and repeal the military pension reductions," said Senator Kaine. "I'm so pleased we're on a path to make this right and give our veterans and servicemembers the peace of mind they deserve."
The Retired Enlisted Association, the National Guard Association, and Vote Vets joined the senators in calling for final passage of the bill.