Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District voted yesterday against a House Republican proposal that undermines Medicare and pits seniors against military retirees. The legislation addresses a provision in the budget agreement that was passed by Congress in December that reduced the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to pensions for military retirees – but it does so by extending sequester cuts to Medicare.
“I support action to restore the full cost of living adjustment for military retirees who have spent a career serving their country, but it’s disappointing that House Republicans offered a bill that cut Medicare to pay for it,” Congressman Luján said. “We need a solution that does not pick winners and losers between military retirees and our nation’s seniors.”
Luján voted for the budget agreement that rolled back last year’s devastating sequester cuts that had resulted in Head Start centers shutting down, workers being furloughed, and cuts to the national labs that rippled through the New Mexico’s economy. In January, Luján supported the omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government that took steps to address the pension issue by repealing the COLA cut for disabled military retirees and survivors. The legislation also included important funding to address the backlog of veterans claims through the VA.
“During Congress’ efforts to pass spending bills last month, we were able to address part of this problem in a bipartisan manner, ensuring that disabled military retirees would receive their full COLA,” Luján added. “It’s disappointing that instead of once again working together to solve this problem that so many of us agree should be addressed, House Republicans choose legislation that weakens Medicare and our commitment to New Mexico’s seniors.”
Luján is a cosponsor of the Military Retirement Restoration Act that repeals the cuts to COLAs and is fully paid for by closing tax loopholes for offshore corporations.