December 18th, 2013
10:47 AM ET
9 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. ????

    Her father would probably disown her for what she has proposed.

    December 18, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. 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 .

    Just makes plain sense

    Rick Perry / Scott Walker 2016
    Intelligence with Strength

    December 18, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. Karen

    Cut one Boeing tanker. Honor promises to vets.

    December 18, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. Name

    Cuts were not made to disabled veterans. Ayotte lied.

    December 18, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. much thunder..little rain

    good call murray is right on

    December 18, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. S.B. Stein

    The problem is that the GOP wouldn't be willing to raise taxes on the wealthy which would have covered the gap. If there is "tax reform," then the rates should stay the same while loopholes and credits can be cut. We can't be revenue neutral while there is still the debt. If we could have a percentage of the taxes brought in cover the debt, that would work. If we could get the GOP on board with that along with raising the rate by 1% on the wealthiest out there, we might start to make a dent in the money that is owed.

    For those that whine about social welfare programs that take up so much of the budget, then I encourage all the top 10% of earners (by wages and investments) to form and contribute into a nation wide non-profit that will take care of the social welfare programs that the government is currently running. Once the government is not doing that, then there will be less to fund which might cause a lowering in taxes.

    December 18, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    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 .

    Just makes plain sense

    Rick Perry / Scott Walker 2016
    Intelligence with Strength
    ----------------------------
    This post is a complete joke. Right?

    December 18, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. Al-NY,NY

    Rudy NYC

    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 .

    Just makes plain sense

    Rick Perry / Scott Walker 2016
    Intelligence with Strength
    ----------
    This post is a complete joke. Right?
    ----------------–

    no, but it would be the Democrats dream to have those two losers on the GOP/TT ticket

    December 18, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. Winning

    @Thomas:

    Rick Perry is your vision of intelligence? Really? OOOOPS LOLOL!!

    December 18, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. stormchaser101

    Lies lies lies Take away do nothing congress pension and give it to veterans

    December 18, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. Hector Slagg

    I think it's called Rob Peter to pay Paul. With Obama Care jobs are scarce for everyone including military retirees. Now some of you rag the conservatives for their politics but you have to be frugal with your finances because you don't know what may be just over the hill that will hit you in the pocketbook. At one time there was no cost of living raises. That started in the Carter Administration if I remember correctly because of the extreme fluxuations in the economy and inflation. It's one of those cold hard facts of life. .

    December 18, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. Fair is Fair

    No unemployment insurance?

    December 18, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. Tampa Tim

    For Rick Perry to win, Texas would have to enact a law that only worthless Texas governors can run for president as a republican. The other red states would surely sign on.

    December 18, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. smith

    I hate to see the cuts to military pensions, but Im glad there was a bi-partisan compromise.

    December 18, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. GOP = Greed Over People

    The cut only applies to folks that retire prior to 62 and takes nothing away from their current pay, just adjust the future COLA increases to be 1% less than those over 62 will receive and does NOT apply to disabled vets at ANY age. Once they hit 62 they will receive the full annual COLA.

    SSN retirees would be pleased if they fare as well.

    December 18, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  16. John

    S.B. Stein, raise tax on wealthy again? They passed a bill that increased the tax on the wealthy so now you want another one? How about Government working within their means and not continues to overtax this is ridicules how Obama has feed of class warfare. How much is enough? I doubt you would be in favor of a tax increase on yourself.

    December 18, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. yolanda

    As a veteran i find the cutting of some military veterans' pension benefits bothersome, especially since other government workers escaped unscathed. What is equally troubling is the tone of the postings of Al-NY,NY, Tampa Tim,. Nothing but negative noise. Hey, we have a compromise. That is how government works. No one is supposed to be thrilled.

    December 18, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. simplyput

    Time to focus on tax reform in this country...I wonder which party will have the stomach for it.

    December 18, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  19. Keith ..... in Oregon

    Compromise...yes, but this was a poor choice.

    I suggest we require 15 years of service to earn any retirement from Congress and then limit time in either house of Congress to 14 years max.

    December 18, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Hector Slagg wrote:

    I think it's called Rob Peter to pay Paul.
    --------------------------
    In practice, it's called the Republican Party's demands for offsetting cuts to any spending increase.

    December 18, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. ActiveDutySailor

    Who is the military does NOT retire prior to age 62?
    When SSN retirees have their COLA's cut?

    December 18, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. ActiveDutySailor

    GOP...it does APPLY to DISABLED vets. The Senate modified the bill to included military retired (including due to wounds suffered in combat).

    December 18, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  23. California

    Senate Dems block amendment to restore veteran benefits by closing illegal immigrant welfare loophole
    1:07 AM 12/18/2013

    December 18, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. California

    Senate Republicans were unable to stop military pension cuts when Senate Democrats blocked a vote on an amendment to prevent the cuts by closing a welfare loophole for illegal immigrants Tuesday evening.

    December 18, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. Woman In California

    This "deal" is sure going to make the upcoming 2014 elections very interesting.

    December 18, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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