Veterans must not embrace the suck in budget deal

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As you probably know by now, I’m a combat veteran who gave 22 years of my life in service to our great Republic and deployed to two combat zones: Operation Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I followed the example of my dad, who served in World War II, and my older brother in Vietnam, and now my nephew has heeded that call to service, already earning trips into the combat zone of Afghanistan. He will be promoted to Major in January.

I’m also a “veteran” of Congress and I was absolutely appalled at the House of Representatives’ passage of the Budget Act of 2013 legislation last Thursday. Here is why.

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As we reported last week and the Washington Times Josh Hicks reports today,

“The budget agreement crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) would reduce cost-of-living adjustments for working-age military retirees by 1 percent starting in December 2015. The existing rate would apply again when former service members reach age 62.”

I sure hope to stay healthy and get to 62. But once trust is broken I doubt it can be restored. As Hicks writes,

“The provision is projected to save $6 billion, but the Veterans of Foreign Wars estimated it would mean $80,000 less by age 62 for a typical enlisted person who retires at age 40.”

Saving $6 billion on the backs of those who have been willing to make the last full measure of devotion to their country seems minuscule and imbecilic in concept. Six billion dollars represents .017 percent of the current budget – now divide that by ten years. It is idiotic.

Although this has passed the House, it is running into problems in the US Senate, with Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) saying they cannot support it.

The Washington Times reports:

Armed forces advocates spoke out against the reduction last week, saying it could affect retention for the military. “Currently serving members look at how they, their families, retirees and survivors have been treated when making career choices,” said Vice Adm. Norb Ryan, president of the Military Officers Association of America. VFW National Commander William Thien added: ”The last thing our nation can afford is a mass exodus of mid-career enlisted and officers because they no longer feel welcome or in control of their military careers.”

Every veteran and anyone who feels this is a miscarriage of justice should send this quote from George Washington to every Member of the House of Representatives who voted “Yea” on this budget legislation and to every Senator, –especially those on Armed Services Committee:

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.”

I find it unconscionable that this was buried in the “deal” created by Senator Murray and Representative Paul Ryan. I am almost certain most of those who voted “Yea” in the House did not even read the legislation.

I certainly shall not, and I pray you will not, “embrace the suck” as so aptly put by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. I for one am sick of the “pass the bill in order to find out what is in it” mentality.

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