By: Leada Gore
Sen. Jeff Sessions said he will continue the fight to repeal pension cuts for military retirees.
The omnibus spending bill in front of Congress exempts medically retired military personnel and their survivors from the 1 percent cut to yearly Cost of Living Adjustments. It leaves in place, however, the reduction for military retirees younger than 62.
Sessions, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of the cuts and was the first to point out the effect on disabled veterans, said he will continue working towards repealing the change before they go into effect in 2015. The proposed budget exempts only about 10 percent of working-age retirees from the reduction, he said.
"For a currently-serving officer nearing retirement, this cut could exceed $120,000 in pension payments, reducing the cost of living adjustments by more than 60 percent," Sessions said.
Instead of an estimated $6 billion in savings over the next decade from the retirement change, Sessions said he'd prefer to see Congress close a loophole that allows for people in the country illegally to receive IRS payments through the Additional Child Tax Credit. The tax credit allows average payments of about $1,800, even if the recipient has paid no taxes.
In 2010, the IRS paid about $4.2 billion for ACTC. That number is expected to grow to about $7.4 billion this year.
Previous attempts by Sessions to block the cuts were stopped in the Senate.
"Leader (Harry) Reid and his conference blocked my effort to implement this fix during the budget debate in December. I hope the majority will allow us to make this fix and stop shielding these illicit tax payments," Sessions said.
"In order to end annual deficits all of us will have to tighten our belts, but our military personnel must not disproportionately bear the burden."
The House of Representatives is set to vote on the spending bill tomorrow and, if passed, it will go to the Senate for a Friday vote.