Lankford Introduces Bill to Restore Military Retirement Benefits

Dec 19, 2013 Issues: Budget

Washington, DC—Representative James Lankford (R-OK) announced today that he has filed H.R. 3787 to repeal the recent change to cost-of-living-adjustments (COLA) for military retirement benefits in the Ryan-Murray Budget Agreement.

“Earlier today, I introduced a bill that repeals the change made to the cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees in the Ryan-Murray budget, while preserving the important deficit reductions,” said Lankford.

“It was clear in the final hours of 2013 that if we did not resolve the budget impasse, we would see major cuts in active duty military, large-scale furloughs and reductions in readiness and force strength starting in January 2014. However, the imperfect agreement also included a reduction in the military retiree COLA starting in 2016. The inclusion of this provision forced every Member of Congress to choose between current military readiness or supporting our military retirees; you could not have both. Now that the military readiness component has been resolved in the budged agreement, it is time to fix the military retiree benefit before it is scheduled to change in 2016.”

Lankford’s bill would instruct the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs to pursue joint purchasing contracts for prescription drugs. DOD and VA have tested joint purchasing in the past to get the best price for their patients and also save the VA $660 million in 2005, alone. This change in purchasing policy would more than offset the savings from the change in military retiree COLA changes. 

The bill also ensures that Members of Congress, who retire before the age of 62, will not receive a COLA increase before they hit retirement age. Congress should never ask Americans to accept policies they are not willing to shoulder first.

“This bill reverses the changes made to retirement pay for veterans, cuts the retirement of Members of Congress and reduces obvious waste in federal contracting,” continued Lankford. “Pursuing these common-sense policies is in the best interest of our military families and taxpayers. We cannot ignore the problems we face from our $17 trillion national debt. But we should not ask our active duty military or military retirees to face cuts in their personal pay while there is so much obvious waste in the federal system.  

“Changes to military retirement should always be the last resort, not the first resort. All areas were not explored to protect military retirees during the budget process, and it is time to correct that right now,” concluded Lankford.

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Contact: Kelly Ferguson (202) 225-2132