Begich, Heller Join Veterans Group to Call for Repeal of Military Retirement Cuts
“Keep Your Promise - No More Sacrifices”
(Full video of press conference included below)
In a bipartisan call for total repeal of the military retirement cuts included in last month’s budget, U.S. Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Dean Heller (R-NV) joined veterans, military families and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) at a press conference Tuesday morning. The press conference occurred just ahead of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on adjustments to COLAs for military retirees and Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address.
Both Begich and Heller are both members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
Begich and Heller joined IAVA CEO and founder Paul Rieckhoff to call for a repeal of the military COLA cut. On hand were military families and veterans who could be affected by the cuts.
“I’ve said many times that we shouldn’t be balancing this budget on the backs of our military men and women who have served and sacrificed for this country,” said Sen. Begich. “I continue to hear from veterans back home in Alaska about the damage this cut will do to them and their families which is why I’m fully committed to repealing it. It is my hope that we can achieve a bipartisan compromise that fulfils the promise we have made to our veterans over the years and to whom we owe a great debt. I thank the IAVA for their continued advocacy of this issue and am glad to stand side by side with them today to tell Congress to keep that promise.”
“Our nation’s heroes and their families have made incredible sacrifices and we owe them our full support. When Congress approved cuts to their cost-of-living adjustment, the very people responsible for protecting these important benefits actually jeopardized them. It is an honor to join with IAVA, veterans and military families in a bipartisan call of support for repealing military retirement cuts," said Senator Dean Heller.
“Congress is breaking America’s promise with our men and women in uniform. These military retirement cuts are unprecedented and outrageous. Tomorrow on Capitol Hill, Congress and the President will hear directly from veterans and military families who are affected by these cuts,” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff. “They can look our members in the eyes and explain why they voted for a 20 percent decrease in their earned benefits in a time of war. In the State of the Union, veterans expect to hear the President clearly state that he stands with us in opposition to these cuts. We need his support in pressuring Congress to fix this immediately. Our troops overseas in the combat zone are watching this issue closely. This is not the time for the President to be silent. ”
December’s bipartisan budget agreement included the cuts to military retirees. Since then, groups like the IAVA, the American Legion and others have fought for a total repeal of the retirement cuts, arguing that Congress shouldn’t balance the budget on the backs of those who have already sacrificed the most.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 270,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide.