Collins seeks to restore military retirement benefits

Jan 10, 2014
The Daily News

Collins seeks to restore military retirement benefits

Congressman Chris Collins, NY-27, is co-sponsoring legislation that cuts the retirement benefits for members of Congress and redirects those funds to military retirement benefits.

“I believe the first people we must protect are our veterans, not our politicians. This legislation would prohibit members of Congress who retire before the age of 62 from receiving cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase on their pension before hitting retirement age,” Collins said.

“These funds will help make it possible to repeal the portion of the Ryan-Murray budget agreement that calls for a change to the COLA for military retirement benefits.”

This legislation (H.R. 3787) also calls for the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to pursue joint contracts for purchasing prescriptions, which will help offset the cost for reinstating the full military retiree COLA.

The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs have previously tested joint purchasing of prescriptions to get the best prices for their patients. In 2005, this resulted in a $660 million savings for the VA.

“This legislative solution is a recommendation from numerous hearings, proposals and reports, but has never been implemented,” Collins said. “It offers a way to protect our veterans without increasing spending, reduces waste, and stops us from kicking the can down the road.”

This legislation is sponsored by Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma. As passed in the Ryan-Murray budget agreement, the COLA adjustments for military retirees do not take effect until 2016 giving Congress more than enough time to pass a bipartisan fix.

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