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Senate to hold hearing on pending COLA cuts

Jan. 20, 2014 - 11:00AM   |  
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Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., has scheduled a hearing to examine the impact of the pending cost-of-living adjustment cuts for military retirees.

The Senate Armed Services Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time Jan. 28 to hear from Defense Department officials and military advocacy groups on the COLA reductions, which were implemented in December as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act.

Levin had promised to review the cuts shortly after the House passed the bill. According to the law, military retirees under age 62 will see a 1 percent reduction to the annual COLA they receive on retirement pay starting in December 2015.

Witnesses will include Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox; Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. James Winnefeld; retired Army Gen. John Tilelli, board chairman for the Military Officers Association of America; retired Army Gen. Gordon Sullivan, Association of the United States Army president; retired Air Force Master Sgt. Richard Delaney, president of the Retired Enlisted Association; and David Chu, president of the Institute for Defense Analyses.

The Bipartisan Budget Act forged by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., introduced the cuts. Ryan has called the reductions “responsible military compensation reform.”

The omnibus spending bill approved by Congress last week restores the COLA for medically retired service members and those who receive annuity payments under the Survivor Benefit Plan.

Military advocacy groups seek a repeal of the cuts for all military retirees under age 62, contending that the reductions are a “breach of faith” for those who chose the military as a profession with an understanding of the risks as well as the compensation benefits.

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