January 17, 2014
Congress took a small step this week towards repealing
recently passed COLA cuts for military retirees. Both the House and Senate
passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H. R. 3547) – an omnibus package to
fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year – exempts
medical (Chapter 61) retirees and survivors from the COLA cuts.
A comprehensive fix could be on the way.
Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is planning to combine the Senate omnibus veterans’ benefits
bill with a full repeal of the COLA cuts. The new bill (S. 1950) has the
support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and could be fast-tracked
to the Senate floor for a vote soon.
original veterans’ legislation (S. 944) enjoyed bipartisan support
when it cleared the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee last fall.
bill incorporates repeal of the unfair 1 percentage point COLA reduction for working
age military retirees and currently serving members established in the Balanced
addresses a number of major MOAA priorities for veterans including:
of advance appropriations for all Dept. of Veterans Affairs accounts
for in-state tuition rates at public colleges for all student veterans using
the new GI Bill
as veterans certain career Reserve members eligible for reserve retired pay
for Iraq and Afghanistan surviving spouses to the Post-9/11 GI Bill via the Gunnery
Sgt. John D. Fry Scholarship Program
of DIC by eligible widows who remarry at age 55
care and services for veterans who were sexually assaulted in military service
of VA health care enrollment opportunity for OIF-OEF veterans from 5 to 10
of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act veterans retraining assistance program
for more timely claims backlog reporting
believes Congress must reach a bipartisan solution to fully and immediately
repeal COLA-cutting provision, and address critical veterans’ needs.
send a MOAA-supported message to your legislators asking
that they support S. 1950 and urging a bipartisan funding solution when it is
brought to the floor for a vote.