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Which Way to COLA Relief?

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February 7, 2014

Influential legislators in both the House and Senate are moving to repeal the recent cuts to COLAs for working age military retirees established in the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA).

With a majority of legislators already supporting repeal efforts, the debate now turns to how to pay for repeal.

A number of bills could be considered by the Senate next week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) took steps to bring another repeal bill, S. 1963, from Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) to the Senate floor next week.

On February 4, MOAA President Vice Adm. Norb Ryan, USN (Ret) spoke at a press conference held by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, urging Senate passage of the legislation. S. 1982. This bill includes omnibus veterans’ benefits upgrades along with COLA repeal.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, announced plans for an alternative veteran’ benefits bill including COLA repeal with a different offset.

Across the Capitol, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced this week that he plans to include a COLA cut repeal provision in his upcoming proposal to raise the debt ceiling.

In order to clear both chambers any proposal will likely require a bipartisan offset.

With so many moving parts it’s unclear which proposal will carry the day, but the prospect of floor debate offers some hope that a bipartisan solution can be found.

The Senate will likely act first. Send your legislators a MOAA-suggested message in support of the numerous proposals coming forward next week.