NGAUS Fights Budget Bill's Retirement Cut

NGAUS Washington Report

(Dec. 23, 2013) NGAUS will continue to fight the cut to some military retirement pay found in the Bipartisan Budget Act that passed Congress last week. The bill is awaiting the president’s signature.

The legislation, which softens the impact of sequestration and prevents another budget battle for two years, pays for that relief, in part, by cutting pay increases for military retirees under the age of 62. It lowers the cost-of-living adjustment to 1 percent below the Consumer Price Index.

Pete Duffy, the NGAUS legislative director, called the plan “onerous” and said military retirees could lose thousands of dollars between the time of their retirement and their 62nd birthday.

He said Congress should have not touched retirement pay until the report from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission is finished.

“It needs to wait for the commission’s well-considered report with recommendations before legislating changes in that area,” he said. “Otherwise, why appoint and fund the commission?”

Duffy attended a press conference last week called by senators opposing the provision. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., invited other members of the Military Coalition to stand with them at the press conference. The coalition is an organization of military associations like NGAUS.

Ayotte prepared an amendment for the budget bill that would replace the $6 billion in savings over 10 years projected by the military retirement pay cut, but the Senate passed the bill later that day without the amendment.

The senators vowed to continue to fight that aspect of the law and NGAUS will join them in that effort.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., one of the architects of the budget bill, said last week that there was time to fix the provision before it takes full effect in 2016.   

Sequestration was to take $52 billion out of the fiscal 2014 defense budget on Jan. 15. The budget agreement restores $21 billion of that cut and provides $10 billion in relief in fiscal 2015.”