Wednesday, February 12, 2014
COLA Vote Not Quite Enough
ALBANY, Feb. 12, 2014 — The American Legion has mixed feelings about a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives that partially restores planned cuts in cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) on pensions for military retirees, New York State American Legion Commander Kenneth Governor notes.
By a vote of 326-90 on Feb. 11, the House approved an amended measure that would restore full annual COLAs for most working age military retirees. However, it continues to apply a controversial COLA cut to future pensioners who first enter the military beginning this year.
“The House action is commendable on one hand,” Governor says, “but falls short of reversing the cost-of-living-adjustment cut for all eligible military retirees, current and future.”
He joined National American Legion Commander Daniel Dellinger in noting that Congress is placing “the responsibility for correcting a financial catastrophe — that is, the unruly national debt — almost solely on our service members.”
The American Legion, Dellinger says, “will continue to push toward a full repeal of military pensioners’ COLA cuts.”
UPDATE, Feb. 13:
The U.S. Senate Wednesday (Feb. 12) approved the House-passed bill to restore cuts in pensions for younger military retirees that had been part of a bipartisan budget deal. The final vote was 95-3.
The bill, which heads to the White House, restores pension levels only for those already in the military. Cost of living increases for new service members will still be held at below the rate of inflation when they retire.