Thursday, April 17, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Congress clears bill ending military pension cuts

Philip M. Breedlove, Joe Donnelly

This photo taken Feb. 12, 2014 shows Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, walking with Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. on Capitol Hill in Washington. Congress has sent President Barack Obama legislation restoring full cost-of-living pension increases for younger military retirees, a capitulation to veterans groups that opposed a modest cut when it was enacted late last year. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — Congress voted Wednesday to restore full cost-of-living pension increases for younger military retirees, completing a bipartisan capitulation to veterans groups that rose up against a modest cut when it was enacted less than two months ago.

The Senate voted 95-3 for the measure, one day after the House approved it, 326-90. The White House said President Barack Obama would sign it.

The overwhelming support the bill enjoyed, including backing by many prominent deficit hawks, reflected the clout that veterans groups enjoy, particularly in an election year.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who opposed the cut when it was first passed, said the legislation restores the benefits “and protects the budget savings achieved by the latest budget deal.”

The bill’s existence also underscored the chronic difficulty that lawmakers face when they try to restrain government benefit programs, which have largely escaped the impact of trillions of dollars in deficit cuts over the last three years.

“Year after year members of Congress simply refuse to stick by the budget discipline that we said we’d stick to. Exhibit one is before us today,” said Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who cast one of the three votes against the measure’s passage. Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Dan Coats, R-Ind., also opposed the bill.

Under legislation that passed in December, annual cost of living increases for veterans age 62 and younger would have been held to 1 percentage point below the rate of inflation. The change would have begun in 2015.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars welcomed the reversal with a statement: “The world will remain a very dangerous and unpredictable place even after America ends its involvement in Afghanistan, and future military retirees will be required to serve just as long and perhaps sacrifice even more than their predecessors.”

Pentagon officials have said that reducing their personnel expenses is a top priority in view of budget cutbacks, and a commission is expected to make recommendations later this year on reining in costs.

Yet even lawmakers most familiar with the Pentagon’s budget said the cut enacted in December was a mistake.

“It was wrong to do it the way it was done. …There wasn’t any hearing or anything,” said Sen. John McCain, of the agreement reached by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. “They just decided it was a way to save money. That’s not the proper way to do it.”

The savings to the government from the reduction was pegged at $7 billion over a decade, but critics said it would cost individual veterans tens of thousands of dollars over their lifetime.

The pensions go to veterans who retire after 20 years of service, regardless of their age. According to the Pentagon, nearly 2 million retirees are currently eligible, about 840,000 of them under age 62. For a sergeant first class who leaves the service at age 42 after two decades in uniform, the bill passed in December would have meant an estimated $72,000 in reduced pension payments from the government.

The bill headed to the White House would only apply to those already in the service. Newcomers to the military would still have their cost of living increases held below the rate of inflation when they begin retiring, in two decades or more.

In agreeing to approve the House-passed bill, Senate Democrats backed off their insistence that the cost of restoring the full pension be allowed to add to the government’s deficit. Instead, the measure offsets the price tag by extending previously-approved cuts elsewhere in the budget for another year, until 2024.

Approval of the House-passed measure would also deny Democrats who are in difficult re-election races this year of bragging rights for the repeal, since their own bill on the subject was jettisoned.

In fact, Republicans in both houses led the charge for repealing the cut, and several of them voted against last year’s budget measure because of it.

Several critics said it was particularly unfair to apply a cut to military pensions when other benefit programs were largely going unscathed. “It is the wrong priority for America to single out those who have taken the bullets for us,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said Monday in remarks on the Senate floor.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Supervisor candidates square off at forum

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 7 Comments | Gallery

 
Carli takes oath, now Vacaville’s 14th police chief

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Huge jump in Solano median home price

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A1, 8 Comments | Gallery

Donate a car, help build a house

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Solano DA hosts workshop to fight human trafficking

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 16 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Fairfield town hall on crime delayed

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 11 Comments

Railway museum offers wine-tasting rides

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
 
Drugs topic of cardiac class

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

Weather for April 17, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

 
Fairfield police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun Police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Armed robber was never told to report to prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Body of California man who jumped into river found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Lost sea lion in California found mile from water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Seabird from Atlantic spotted on Alcatraz

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Ex-Bell city leader gets 12 years in prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
California delays decision on protecting gray wolf

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Court rules for environmentalists in water fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Governor calls special session on rainy day fund

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Denver police eye 911 response time after killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Man charged with marathon hoax is held on bail

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Geneva talks on Ukraine face steep hurdles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Pro-Russian insurgents seize armored vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Ferry sinks off South Korea; 6 dead, 290 missing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

.

Opinion

In support of Pam Bertani

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

 
Parenting demands responsibility

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
Obamacare news you probably missed

By Martin Schram | From Page: A11, 4 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 17, 2014

By Kim Durbin | From Page: A11

.

Living

A lesson in household budgeting

By Chris Erskine | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for April 17, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes for April 17, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Daniel Radcliffe on why New York audiences rock

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Alicia Silverstone out with book ‘Kind Mama’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Jenny McCarthy announces engagement on ‘The View’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Ailing Malcolm Young taking break from AC/DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Disney Channel’s ‘Jessie’ breaks romantic ground

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Vacaville’s Peralta to wrestle at San Francisco State

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Angels beat A’s 5-4 on Iannetta’s HR in 12th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

MEL, SCAC tangle in hoops all-star games

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Sharks take goalie questions into rematch vs Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Crawford’s 41 points leads Warriors over Nuggets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

IndyCar driver Saavedra fined $10K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sandoval’s single lifts Giants past Dodgers, 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Officer: Sharper’s DNA found on 1 Arizona victim

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Spieth ready for more after Masters success

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Backup QB Matt Flynn returns to Packers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Atlanta lands MLS expansion team for 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bucks owner Herb Kohl reaches deal to sell team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sidney Rice agrees to terms with Seahawks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Goodwin helps Suns to 104-99 win over Kings in finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Yellen: Fed stimulus still needed for job market

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Some exempted from minimum wage, increased or not

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Fed survey: Growth picks up across most of US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Bank of America posts loss, hurt by legal charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Google’s 1Q earnings disappoint as ad prices slip

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9