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Budget deal will affect local veterans' pensions

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Updated: 12/18/2013 11:34 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- In a vote of 64-36, the U.S. Senate passed a two-year budget deal Wednesday afternoon, avoiding $31 billion in defense cuts, and ending fears of another government shutdown.

But military advocate John Markiewicz isn't happy.

"It's an easy way out," he told Action News as the votes were being cast.

The deal includes a $6.2 billion cut to veteran pensions. The cost of living increase that retirees receive to cover inflation is now 1 percent less for those under age 62.

"Betrayal," said Markiewicz. "They feel like they're being betrayed by their own government."

For Paul Pratt, who served on the front lines for the Army for 20 years, the cut adds up to thousands of dollars.

"This is the way we show our appreciation? I don't think so. When you've put in so much time and worn the uniform of this country and the country tells you this is the way that it thanks you. It really hurts. It really does."

Supporters say the cuts were necessary to avoid layoffs and furloughs.

"We had to look at how we could find compromises. There's things in this I like. There are things in this I don't like," said Sen. Patty Murray, Senate budget chairman.

But those opposed, like Markiewicz, say lawmakers are taking a risk that could negatively impact troop morale, and threaten national security. He said the benefits are hard-earned.

"They made their career based on promises made by our government. What's left to induce anybody to make a military career?"

Now he and Pratt are hoping lawmakers will go back and cut something else.

"They could find money in other places, said Pratt. "Pick any other area to cut, but leave the veterans alone."

Lawmakers from both parties say they will work to make changes. Leaders in the House plan to introduce a measure that would restore those benefits on Thursday.

If it doesn't pass, the cut will take effect in 2016.
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Realchange - 12/19/2013 6:10 AM
2 Votes
That's even as veteran you can get pension. Many the desert storm veterans were cheated by the system. intentionally, willfully. Imagine serving in Desert Storm then finding out after you get out your health is fading. You starting having strange medical problems with real physical problems that are hard to explain. Then you find out hundreds of thousands of veterans from the same time frame are sick. Then watch as the VA tells you that you can't have a jury trial for disability. That they are just doing their jobs and there is nothing you can do to get justice. Then watch as people the Bush family put in office decide your case for you. Just doing their job they tell you. Nazi guards were just doing their jobs to.

Truthseeker - 12/19/2013 4:28 AM
2 Votes
When are the people of this country going to learn that the politicians in Washington couldn't care less about the working people of this country. The contracts set by the Government aren't worth the paper they are written on. All we are to them is people who make money that they can confiscate for vote buying and I am talking both parties. The Democrats don't care about the people and make it known openly while the Republicans say they care but haven't the guts to prove it. Most of the political positions in this country need to be done away with and the remainder need to be limited to one term.
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