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MOAA Challenges Media on COLA Cuts

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January 3, 2014
In the wake of the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) the media has examined the controversial provision that reduces working age military retirees’ annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) by one percentage point until they reach the age of 62.

On the January 2 edition of PBS NewsHour, MOAA President Vice Adm. Norb Ryan, USN (Ret) debated Dr. Larry Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, Reserve Affairs, Installations, and Logistics. (View the video segment)

However, in some reports the provision was declared to be “a little” reform. Others characterized the provision as “teensy weensy,” or a “small tweak.” 

MOAA objected to these characterizations and quickly fired back with the facts in an attempt to set the record straight.

In letters to the editors of Washington Post and USA Today, MOAA wrote that “A Sergeant First Class or Master Sergeant retiring this year with 20 years of service will lose $83,000 in purchasing power by the time they reach age 62 – definitely more than ‘teensy-weensy’ or ‘small’ cut”

In response to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Admiral Ryan replied “the new budget deal doesn’t contain ‘a little’ military pension reform.  It will have a devastating effect on the personal finances of active-duty and retiring service members.”

MOAA also appealed to leaders in Congress to repeal the provision for all military retirees. In letters to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff GEN Martin Dempsey, USA, MOAA President Ryan reminded these leaders that “the Congress and the Administration made the commitment to fully grandfather current service members and retirees from any change to their retirement.” 

MOAA calls upon Congress to honor its promise to our service members and retirees.

Read more on MOAA’s response to the media and letters sent to Congressional and administration leaders calling on them to honor their promise to our servicemembers and retirees.