A bipartisan budget pact designed to curtail future financial crises is set to pass in the Senate Wednesday, December 18, providing more than $1 trillion dollars to the federal budget for the 2014 fiscal year.
Republicans made up 12 of the 67 senators who voted in favor of the pact on Tuesday, several of whom promised to oppose the measure believing it offers no real solution to the nation’s long term debt. This comes amid the turmoil from a proposal looking to cut back on pension benefits for working-age military retirees.
The proposed one-percent decrease in pension pay is said to only affect retired military personnel who are likely to be working civilian jobs, some for 20 years, after military service. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) created the provision.
In a document defending the cut, Ryan’s staff called pensions to middle-aged military retirees “an exceptionally generous benefit, often providing 40 years of pension payment in return for 20 years of service.” Ryan proposed a cost-of-living decrease of one percentage point below inflation until the pension recipient reaches 62. From there on, a “catch up” provision will restore the pension to where it would have been with full inflation increases.
The measure is set to restore $45 billion, half the amount scheduled to be cut from the 2014 budgets of the Pentagon and numerous domestic agencies, bringing them to $1 trillion. An additional $18 billion for 2015 would provide enough relief to essentially freeze spending at those levels for the year.
The bill is set to reach President Obama’s desk as early as today, as the 67-33 vote Tuesday pushed past the filibuster threshold.