December 18th, 2013
10:47 AM ET
4 months ago

Murray: Compromise was necessary on military pension cuts

Updated 12:54 p.m., 12/18/2013

(CNN) – Sen. Patty Murray, co-crafter of the bipartisan budget agreement and member of the veterans affair committee, said Wednesday cuts to pension benefits for some military veterans under the spending plan was a part of a compromise to avoid billions in cuts to the defense industry.

"We had to look at how we could find compromises. There are things in this I like and there are things in this I don't like," the Senate Budget Committee chair and Democrat from Washington State said in an interview on CNN's "New Day."

"But at the end of the day, if we couldn't find a compromise on how we move forward, then we would be facing a 20 billion dollar hit to our defense industry - meaning layoffs, uncertainty and a lot of furloughs, harming a lot of families across the country," Murray told CNN anchor Kate Bouldan.

Murray comes from a military family. Her father, who was awarded a Purple Heart in World War II, suffered from multiple sclerosis and was disabled.

She added that she's open to changes to the compromise before the military action takes affect in two years if an agreement can be reached on the issue in a divided Congress.

"If somebody's got a better way and has an opportunity to do that, this, military action doesn't take effect for two years so we welcome anybody coming with a better way to do it that want to offer it and get it through a divided congress," she said.

"I'm happy to look at that and support it if it's something i can agree with."

The budget agreement between Murray and Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin eases spending caps for the next two fiscal years while softening the impact of across-the-board federal spending cuts, known as the sequester, on defense and non-defense programs and calling for more than $20 billion in deficit reduction.

The deal cuts pension cost of living raises by one percentage point for military retirees who aren't disabled and not yet 62 years old. Cost of living hikes are automatic raises intended to keep up with inflation.

Military groups have expressed outrage over the deal in a letter to the White House and Congress last week.

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire have been outspoken critics of the cuts to military pension benefits.

"Why is it in this budget deal that they are the only group that gets cuts to their benefits?" Ayotte said to CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead" on Tuesday. "Of all the people we would cut first - our veterans, our disabled veterans."

The budget deal overwhelmingly passed the House last week and goes on to the Senate for final approval Wednesday, where the bill will require a simple majority of 51 votes to pass.

CNN Money's Jennifer Liberto contributed to this report.


Filed under: Budget • Patty Murray • Senate • Veterans
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Larry in Houston

    @Thomas

    We need to subcontract and out source our military , we can have foreigners or non union personnel do the job defending our country at minimum wage and without the costly benefits .

    Answer : Hate to be a bearer of bad tidings, but that's what has been happening since Reagan fired those ATC....little by little, one by one, on both sides of the Hudson, the Potomac, the Red / the St. Croix, the Allegeny, the Ohio , & I can name about 12 more rivers above the mason Dixon line, from Wisconsin to Minnesota, all the way across to Fall River, Mass.......they shut them down, THOMAS.....LOL – They moved away, Thomas, They sold out, Thomas....AND they won't be back, why ? the answer is in your first sentence.

    December 18, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    yolanda wrote:

    As a veteran i find the cutting of some military veterans' pension benefits bothersome, especially since other government workers escaped unscathed
    -----------------–
    Unscathed? Where have you been? At the conservative water cooler? Your "other government workers" have had their salaries frozen since at least 2010. Furthermoe, this budget agreement doubles the "other government workers" share of the pension contributions that are deducted from each check.

    December 18, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. GOP = Greed Over People

    "Of all the people we would cut first – our veterans, our disabled veterans."

    Spoken like a true GOP bot, lie, but never, ever, let those pesky facts get in the way of a GOP talking point spoken by a Chatty-Cathy where the GOP pulls the string,

    Ayotte should get her "facts" from somewhere other than Fox Fables.

    December 18, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. Keith

    Senator Murray is a damn liar when she says they had no other options other than to cut military veteran pensions. They conveniently grandfathered their own federal pensions but didn't do the same for veterans? What she agreed to is offensive and disgusting, and she's on the Veterans Affairs committee and she threw them under the bus. If republicans controlled both chambers of Congress they wouldn't have even attempted something so offensive as this.

    Did they cut one corporate tax loophole? Hell no they didn't.
    Did they end one subsidy to big Oil, big Ag, or big Pharma? Hell no they didn't
    Did they ask the top 1%, who have done so well compared to everyone else, to pay one penny more? Hell no they didn't
    Did they ask the middle class to pitch in? Hell no they didn't
    Did they cut foreign aid? Hell no they didn't

    This is an austerity budget that not only harms veterans, the ones experiencing the highest unemployment numbers, it also ends unemployment for 3 million Americans. This will be another hit for an already weak economy. It will increase unemployment and further decrease the cost of labor by driving wages down more than they already are. This budget ensures a very weak economy and high unemployment for a full two more years. Senator Murray is a traitor to her nation.

    December 18, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. GOP = Greed Over People

    " The Senate modified the bill to included military retired (including due to wounds suffered in combat)."

    Some one needs a civic class refresher, IF the Senate modified the bill and it is passed with the modification, it MUST go back to the House for another vote, if it fails it must go to conference of a select group of members from both Houses to hash out the change(s), that is why Murray from the Senate and Ryan from the House worked on this bill on the front end, it cannot be changed in any form without a revote, The House adjourned last Friday.

    December 18, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    ""Why is it in this budget deal that they are the only group that gets cuts to their benefits?" Ayotte said to CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead" on Tuesday. "Of all the people we would cut first – our veterans, our disabled veterans.""

    Load of disingenuous claptrap from the people who want to cut benefits to the poor, sick, elderly, disabled, unemployed, etc., while they refuse to cut tax expenditures in the form of preferential loopholes and deductions and inure to the benefit of only the wealthiest Americans....or subsidies to massive industries lie Big Oil.

    It doesn't take effect for 2 years. Come up with a better compromise in the interim instead of having Jeff Sessions propose an offensive and broken amendment at the last minute solely for the purpose of generating a talking point about Dems screwing veterans in favor illegal immigrants, all as a means of trying to deflect blame from those GOPers who still vote for the budget deal.

    December 18, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    The 20 billion cut to veterans, is chicken feed, and we all know that. The Dems have squandered trillions, including billions in foreign aid to people who hate us.........and they want us to BUY THIS LIE!

    Don't be stupid people..........this is not a just way to balance spending at all.

    December 18, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Did they cut one corporate tax loophole? Hell no they didn't.
    Did they end one subsidy to big Oil, big Ag, or big Pharma? Hell no they didn't
    Did they ask the top 1%, who have done so well compared to everyone else, to pay one penny more? Hell no they didn't
    Did they ask the middle class to pitch in? Hell no they didn't
    Did they cut foreign aid? Hell no they didn't"
    ===
    What part of "compromise" do you not understand? All of the things you list and then blame on Murray/Dems are things that would have been absolute non-starters with the GOP/Teatrolls. Your aim is so far off it's not even funny. None of those would have gotten us anywhere near compromise or a budget deal because the GOP/Teatrolls would have...and likely did during negotiations...indicated that those things would be adamantly opposed and obstructed without question and without yielding and would destroy any attempt at a deal.

    December 18, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Senator Murray is a traitor to her nation."

    Yeah, Paul Ryan and the GOP had nothing whatsoever to do with this!!!! Derp Derp Derp!!!!! Look over there...SQUIRREL!!!!

    December 18, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "If republicans controlled both chambers of Congress they wouldn't have even attempted something so offensive as this. "

    You're right, they would have thrown the sick, elderly, poor, minorities, disabled, unemployed, et al, under the bus, ramped up military spending, protected all the preferential tax treatment received by the wealthy and corporations (as they did here) and protected all the ridiculous subsidies received by industries that are consistently reporting record profits even during the Great Recession (as they did here). There would have been ZERO compromise and they would have sent a ridiculous budget to Obama with a big sticky on it that says "we dare you to veto this." Then, when he vetoed it, they'd refuse to pass anything else, shut down the gov't and try to blame him for it. Do I need to game it out for you further?

    December 18, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. GOP = Greed Over People

    "If republicans controlled both chambers of Congress they wouldn't have even attempted something so offensive as this. "

    Let's be clear, if the GOP had allowed ALL the "temporary" tax cuts to expire(yes, even mine) as originally designed and voted on over 10 years ago by the shrub and his posse, no one would have to suffer by taking a cut to their pensions. But the GOP would have none of it, and offered up the rich 1% as their "sacrifice" to increasing revenue.

    And for those of you yammerin' about rules being changed 10 years from now, I hope you see the irony in your "logic"!

    December 18, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. Pollopa

    I guess we should have just stuck with the original democratic proposed budget out of the senate last May. Then we would have not had cuts to the pension, would have had research and job creating infrastructure, education and a healthier nation. Remember this budget passed the house through compromise with the republicans. We could have had a much better outcome for all if the house was controlled by the democrats. The 1% of course will not agree. Vote in 2014.

    December 18, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. yolanda

    @Rudy, no I don't drink from that water cooler, or yours. What is so terribly wrong with govt. workers contributing like the rest of us poor working stiffs? You seem quite touchy about this.....

    December 18, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. ED1

    Why not starting with your cuts in congress and leave the veterans alone haven't they given enough already.

    Sub pay, lousy housing, and most get food stamps, and we treat our veterans like crap.

    December 18, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. CyYentz

    Rather than take money out of the pockets of us veterans, why not cut the foreign aid to countries that are hosting terrorists, countries we're already fighting, and countries that refuse to deal with us honorably? Then cut the drone program, which is nothing but a murder machine that hits innocents as often as enemies. Then cut the spending on surplus military equipment and programs that still pay for the manufacture of obsolete materiel, like Sherman tanks.

    We cut cut deficits in a hurry, support Americans who can't earn their own living, and even balance the budget very quickly.

    December 18, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Larry in Houston

    the 2014 "Vote" is going to be a Dandy !! LOL – it will be, what it will be....In other words, IT IS, What IT IS.
    if you don't vote, don't complain, Just Sayin -

    December 18, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. BarryRock

    Maybe it's time for these folks to pick up a rifle and stand a post. Then if they stay long enough, and they survive their career, they can see what it is like to have a lying politician take away (bait and switch) all that was promised when they ask you to risk your life for them.

    Maybe we should begin with the salary, benefits, and pensions. They just blow hot air each day under the safety provided by those the now attack.

    December 18, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    yolanda

    @Rudy, no I don't drink from that water cooler, or yours. What is so terribly wrong with govt. workers contributing like the rest of us poor working stiffs? You seem quite touchy about this.....
    ----------------
    I'm not touchy. You're just misinformed, because cannot even explain what it is that you're talking about. It is impossible to conduct an intelligent conversation with a moving target. What happened to your "cutting of some military veterans' pension benefits bothersome, especially since other government workers escaped unscathed' line of argument?

    December 18, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Murry should have stood up to Eddie Munster Ryan and called his bluff. No way the Rethugs would risk another government shutdown. Dems always misplay a good poker hand.

    December 18, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. yolanda

    @Rudy, so if one has the temerity to disagree w/ you, one is misinformed? I'm talking about this particular compromise, not the historical past. And if you want to go deeper, then please justify the paltry pay and benefits that our military veterans receive compared to the salaries and benefits of (most) government workers. The common thread on your posts is that you're right and the rest of the (unwashed) world is either misinformed or bigoted. Wow.

    December 18, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    yolanda wrote:

    yolanda

    @Rudy, so if one has the temerity to disagree w/ you, one is misinformed? I'm talking about this particular compromise, not the historical past. And if you want to go deeper, then please justify the paltry pay and benefits that our military veterans receive compared to the salaries and benefits of (most) government workers. The common thread on your posts is that you're right and the rest of the (unwashed) world is either misinformed or bigoted. Wow.
    -----------------------------
    There you go again. Moving target. Changing the subject. Let's stick to your original incorrect post that said "other government workers escaped unscathed." Apparently, you would rather forget about it. Bigoted? You have me mixed up with someone else. You, misinformed? That call was spot on.

    December 18, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
1 2