VFW Takes COLA Fight to Senate
Breaking faith with retirees puts All-Volunteer Military in jeopardy
December 13, 2013
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is now taking its fight to
remove an anti-veteran proposal from a federal budget deal to the Senate.
This is necessary because the House of
Representatives, by a vote of 332-94 on Thursday, passed a two-year budget deal
to fund the government and temporarily end the sequester, but at a huge
financial cost to working-age military retirees younger than 62. If the Senate
approves and the president signs, the provision would automatically subtract a
full percentage point from annual cost-of-living increases, which for an E-7
retiring today at age 40 could amount to a cumulative loss in retirement income
of $80,000 by age 62.
Iraq is over and the war in Afghanistan is winding down, we can’t allow Congress
to dismantle the programs they created over the past 12 years,” said VFW
National Commander William A. Thien, a Vietnam veteran from Georgetown, Ind. “A
nation that sends her military to war has asacred
obligation to care for them when they come home wounded, ill or injured, and to
ensure that the one percent of the population who serves isn’t forgotten after
the war ends,” he said.
Thien said the COLA penalty breaks faith
with military retirees and puts the continued viability of the All-Volunteer Military
“The very last thing our nation can
afford is a mass exodus of midcareer enlisted and officers because they no
longer feel welcome or in control of their military careers, and without a
professional enlisted and officer corps to train and lead the troops, the
entire system falls apart,” he said.
Thankfully, the VFW’s fight to remove
the COLA penalty isn’t falling on deaf ears. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) has
already said she couldn’t support a budget agreement that “pays for more federal
spending on the backs of our active duty and military retirees — those who have
put their lives on the line to defend us.”
“The VFW is very disappointed with the
House, but we are grateful to Senator Ayotte for standing with our men and
women in uniform, and I now call on the other senators to join her,” said the
VFW national commander.
“We know the federal government needs to
curb its spending, balance its budget, and put an end to the sequester, but
penalizing military retirees is not the solution,” said Thien, who is asking
nearly 2 million VFW and Auxiliary members and veterans advocates everywhere to
voice their opposition to the COLA proposal by contacting their senators at http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert/?alertid=63026806&queueid=10042843021.
To see how individual members of the
House voted, go to https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/113-2013/h640.
Click here toread VFW’s letter to Congressional Leaders.
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