Senators Look to Block Budget Deal’s Cut to Military Retirement

Senators Look to Block Budget Deal’s Cut to Military Retirement

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Senators blocked a proposal to restore $6 billion in cuts to military retirees as part of the budget deal, but the issue will be back when the Senate reconvenes at the start of 2014.

The recently passed deal decreases the annual cost-of-living adjustment for working-age military retirees by 1 percent over 10 years. But the cut doesn’t begin taking effect until December 2015, and a handful of senators and outside groups are hoping that’s enough time to stop it.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., moved early to undercut the provision. He said before the budget agreement was passed that panel members would review any changes next year. A specific timeline for such a review has yet to be announced, and Levin only offered that the review would happen before the cuts start. Continue reading “Senators Look to Block Budget Deal’s Cut to Military Retirement”

Senate Ends Budget Debate, Clearing Way for Passage

Senate Ends Budget Debate, Clearing Way for Passage

 
Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, spoke to members of the media on Tuesday.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesStephen Crowley/The New York TimesStephen Crowley/The New York TimesStephen Crowley/The New York TimesStephen Crowley/The New York Times

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Published: December 17, 2013 194 Comments

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan tax-and-spending plan designed to bring some normalcy to Congress’s budgeting after three years of chaos cleared its final hurdle on Tuesday when 67 senators voted to end debate on the measure and bring it to a final vote before it goes to President Obama for his signature.

The 67-33 vote easily surpassed the 60-vote threshold to break a filibuster and made way for final passage with a simple, 51-vote majority, likely on Wednesday. Republican support was surprisingly strong after days of uncertainty fueled by political posturing and Tea Party opposition.

The budget plan would restore $63 billion to defense and domestic programs in fiscal 2014 and 2015 from the levels they would have received if automatic, across-the-board spending cuts were to resume in January. Over 10 years, the plan would decrease cumulative deficits slightly by trimming military and federal worker pensions, extending a 2 percent cut to Medicare providers into next decade and making other changes, like ending federal research for some fossil-fuel discovery efforts. Continue reading “Senate Ends Budget Debate, Clearing Way for Passage”

Cuts for military retirees costing GOP support for budget deal

Federal Eye

Cuts for military retirees costing GOP support for budget deal

GOP lawmakers and military groups have lined up against the bipartisan budget deal making its way through Congress because of a provision that would trim pay for young military retirees.

In a joint statement last week, Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said they cannot support the legislation because it “disproportionately and unfairly targets those who have put their lives on the line to defend our country.”

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, although the existing rate would apply again once former service members reach age 62. Continue reading “Cuts for military retirees costing GOP support for budget deal”

Shutdown storm looms over disaster defenses

Shutdown storm looms over disaster defenses

By: Darren Samuelsohn
October 4, 2013 04:30 PM EDT

The federal government may be mostly closed, but leaders from the White House to the Gulf Coast are presenting a brave face that they’ll still be ready for Tropical Storm Karen.

National Hurricane Center trackers never left their posts. FEMA has recalled more than 100 furloughed employees to help coordinate with state and local officials from Florida to Louisiana, plus other parts of the country affected by severe weather. President Barack Obama is even directing traffic in the first big management test of his short-handed government.

With the storm churning toward a Gulf Coast landfall starting Saturday, the administration and warring factions on Capitol Hill know there are political risks for anyone seen as bungling disaster response, even if the government is partially shut down. Continue reading “Shutdown storm looms over disaster defenses”