Congress recently voted to cut the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for military retirees by 1% per year in order to help balance the budget. That's right ... military retirees, those of us who risked life and limb to PROTECT YOUR FREEDOM for 20+ years are THE FIRST ONES CONGRESS GOES AFTER WHEN CUTS ARE NEEDED! They do not eliminate the BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WASTED ANNUALLY BY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AND CONTRACTORS ... No, they ignore the gross fraud, waste, and abuse happening each and every day and go after military retirees!
Here is the letter I sent to my congresswoman and senator:
Chris Sorrentino LtCol
Lt Col USAF RET
January 4, 2014
I'm writing to ask you to repeal a provision (Sec. 403) within the Bipartisan Budget Act (H. J. Res 59) that significantly cuts retirement benefits for current and future military retirees. Section 403 cuts the annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for uniformed service retirees by 1 percentage point each year until age 62.
The cuts will have a devastating and long-lasting impact. By age 62 retirees who serve a 20 year career would lose nearly 20 percent of their retirement pay purchasing power.
I support a long-term budget deal, but this agreement places a disproportionate burden on the backs of the men and women who have already sacrificed so much for our nation. No other group was asked to take such a cut.
Many members of Congress have stated they would take this up immediately upon their return in January. Help lead this charge - take action to repeal this provision that breaks faith with current and future military retirees, and threatens long term readiness and retention in the uniformed services.
Chris Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret)
Here is the response I received from my congresswoman on 1/9/2014:
Dear Mr. LtCol:
Thank you for contacting me regarding veterans benefits. As your representative in Washington, I value your thoughts and concerns.
The Second District is home to some of the best and brightest in the Armed Forces. From Fort Leavenworth to Forbes Field, and the over 7,500 National Guard Members and over 4,000 members of the Reserve, Eastern Kansans are proud of its strong military presence. This means we also have a proud, distinguished population of veterans, and I am committed to making sure these veterans are honored and receive the benefits they have rightly earned.
I am proud of legislation I have authored and supported for veterans. In July, I authored an amendment to H.R. 2610, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2014 to ensure the Department of Housing and Urban Development - Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program serves homeless veterans in the best way possible. I am an original cosponsor of the Expedited Hiring for VA Trained Psychiatrists Act, which would create a fast-track, hiring process for psychiatrists who train at Veterans Affairs facilities. The legislation aims to reduce the wait times for veterans seeking to access mental health services by reducing the time it takes to fill these critical positions.
Recently, I voted in favor of H.J.Res.59, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014, for several reasons. First, it prevents another disastrous government shutdown, which the VFW and other veterans organizations warned would be catastrophic for veterans who rely on their benefits. The budget deal also provided the Department of Defense (DoD) $32 billion in sequester relief, another issue the VFW called on Congress to address. According to the legislation, no military retiree over the age of 62 will be effected in any way. However, working-age military retirees will see their annual cost-of-living adjustment reduced by 1 percent starting in January 2016. This affects those who are still of working age, and who likely have another paycheck. However, when they reach 62, their retired pay will revert back to the full rate of inflation, and they have full inflation protection going forward.
To be clear, while I would have preferred this particular provision not be included in the legislation, I believe it is the best of the likely options before us; this agreement, another shutdown or continue with sequestration, which mandated an additional $20 Billion cut to the DoD next year, likely resulting significant furloughs. Our nation’s massive deficit requires that we make concessions and work with the President and the Democrat-controlled Senate to bridge an agreement and avoid another government shutdown. While far from ideal, I believe that is what this budget agreement does.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please never hesitate to call, email, or write if you have any issues or concerns on your mind. Also feel free to visit my website at www.lynnjenkins.house.gov where you can see what I have been up to and sign up for my weekly newsletter.
I hope you have a blessed Holiday Season and a Merry Christmas.
Lynn Jenkins, CPA
Member of Congress
Congresswoman Jenkins appreciates the opportunity to communicate with you via e-mail.
Here is my response sent to Congresswoman Jenkins 1/9/2014:
Dear Congresswoman Jenkins,
You voted in favor of H.J.Res.59, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014, for the following reasons: First, it prevents another disastrous government shutdown, which the VFW and other veterans organizations warned would be catastrophic for veterans who rely on their benefits. The budget deal also provided the Department of Defense (DoD) $32 billion in sequester relief, another issue the VFW called on Congress to address. According to the legislation, no military retiree over the age of 62 will be effected in any way. However, working-age military retirees will see their annual cost-of-living adjustment reduced by 1 percent starting in January 2016. This affects those who are still of working age, and who likely have another paycheck. However, when they reach 62, their retired pay will revert back to the full rate of inflation, and they have full inflation protection going forward.
You are grossly ignorant if you believe cutting retiree benefits is the FIRST way we should balance the budget. I have personally witnessed gross fraud, waste, and abuse in government spending and contracting in the BILLION$ ANNUALLY ma'am.
When I reported the gross fraud, waste, and abuse last January, my $50,000 government contract was illegally cancelled two days later and my business was ruined by the government employee who I reported to when she made false allegations against me and my service-disabled veteran-owned small business. My business was ruined, we lost our home, and were forced to sell half of our possessions because I tried to save the government BILLION$.
I am 57 years-old and don't have an income other than my pension and VA disability, and you think that's OK? You believe that those who served their country for 20 years and risked life and limb for YOUR FREEDOM MADAM should be the first ones to have our COLA's garnished, reducing our lifetime benefits by tens of thousands of dollars? Seriously? MAYBE YOUR COLA AND THE COLA OF THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR CONTRACTING OFFICER (SHARON HALLINAN) WHO RETALIATED AGAINST ME SHOULD BE REDUCED BEFORE MINE?
You are living in a glass house madam, are completely ignorant if you believe that garbage in the letter you sent me, and I will do everything in my power to ensure you are not re-elected because there are far too many ignorant people already in Washington DC! Sincerely, Chris Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret)
I would like a response
DO NOT THANK ME FOR MY SERVICE EVER AGAIN WITHOUT FIRST CONTACTING YOUR CONGRESSMAN / WOMAN AND COMMUNICATING YOUR OUTRAGE OVER THIS ACT OF COWARDICE AND CONTEMPT AGAINST MILITARY RETIREES:
Send your legislators a MOAA-suggested message asking them to repeal a COLA cutting provision included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013.
Click on this URL to take action now
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