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Senate moves to undo military pension cuts

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Senate moves to undo military pension cuts
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Senate on Monday voted to advance a proposal to undo the cut to some military pensions, which is outlined in the federal budget.

The reduction shaves 1 percent off the annual cost-of-living adjustments for working-age military retirees.

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., introduced the bill meant to restore those cuts.

"We’ve made a commitment to our service members, and we need to honor that commitment today by ensuring that they receive the benefits that they’ve earned," Pryor said.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., helped negotiate the federal budget deal, which contains the cut to military pensions. In defending the reduction, his website calls military retirement packages “exceptionally generous."

Ryan's website states the program typically provides 40 years of pension payments in return for 20 years of service, and argues that it’s the opposite in the private sector, where people work about 40 years for roughly 20 years of retirement benefits.

Many Republican and Democratic lawmakers agree that the pension cut is a bad idea; they just can’t agree on how to pay for reversing it.

And in a midterm election year, Democrats are eager to force the GOP into voting against popular measures like veterans' funding.

“By passing this legislation this week, we can keep our promises to our service members and veterans who do not deserve to have their retirement benefits cut," said Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.

"Supporting our men and women in uniform not a partisan issue. It’s an American issue. We’ve seen 30 of the major veterans groups urge us to fix this," Pryor said.

Those veterans groups say Congress shouldn’t back out of their commitment.

And while Pentagon officials readily admit they must deal with rising personnel costs, they say changes to military retirements like this should not come from Congress.

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