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Senate Passes Budget Deal, Hits Veteran Benefits

Senate Passes Budget Deal, Hits Veteran Benefits
Congress gives President Obama an early Christmas present, an agreement on a government spending plan. Wednesday the senate approved the budget by a vote of 64 to 36. Last week the proposal soared through the house by a 332 to 94 vote. The compromise sets a path of government spending into 2015 and puts aside the threat of a shutdown. It calls for erasing some forced spending cuts, and reducing the deficit by at least 20 billion dollars. The president has previously expressed support for this plan.

Republican US Senator John Boozman of Arkansas, who voted against the bill, released a statement on the vote saying in part:

“I appreciate the efforts of both sides to find common ground and avoid another shutdown. However, I cannot support a measure that immediately increases spending and ultimately busts the budget caps that were put place to get us on the path to fiscal responsibility."

To read his entire statement, click here.

While the bi-partisan budget bill may be on its way to the president's desk for signature, it still has its fair share of controversy, including cuts to military benefits. At issue, a 1% drop in the cost of living adjustment for service members who retire after 20 years. Generally people in their 40's. The cut would be restored at age 62.
in real terms...a retiring army sergeant first class would lose 37-hundred dollars each year. Over 20 years, that could add up to 80 thousand dollars in lost benefits. Responding to outrage about cuts in military pensions are senators who voted yes on the budget, including Mark Pryor, demanding benefits be restored.

"These hero's lay their lives on the line for us, and they deserve us to work to fix this provision so that they can receive the full benefits that they've earned," said Senator Pryor.

Senator John McCain argues cuts in military pensions are needed, noting it cost 52 billion dollars last year alone, and skyrocketed 49% percent over the last 10 years.

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