Working Age Vets Lose, DOD Wins in Budget Deal
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The Fiscal Times
December 12, 2013

There’s growing hope that the budget deal struck by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) will pass as House Republicans begin to rally behind it. But one group that’s unhappy with the deal is veterans. 

That’s because the agreement contains a reduction in the cost of living adjustment for veterans’ benefits. Veterans who are still of working age would get a one percent reduction in inflation in their pay phased in over three years. The idea is that retirees under the age of 62 are mostly working while collecting their military pensions.  After they reach 62, the full inflation adjustment kicks in. 

Related: Congressional Odd Couple Finally Strikes a Budget Deal 

“This will have a disastrous, long-term impact on the benefits already earned by those who have sacrificed so much,” Carlisle Williams, press secretary for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told the Christian Science Monitor. 

The need to reform military benefits is widely acknowledged if DOD is to reduce spending. But this is the first time that benefits have actually been slashed.

At the same time, it's a good deal for the rest of the Pentagon. It eliminates many of the sequester cuts that would have dramatically cut DOD's budget next year. If all of the sequester cuts took hold, DOD's budget would have been reduced from President Obama's request of $527 to $475. Under the terms of the Ryan-Murray deal, DOD's budget would be $520.5 billion. 

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An editor-at-large for The Fiscal Times, David Francis has reported from all over the world on issues that range from defense to border security to transatlantic relations.