News Release 2/4/14

VADM Ryan Urges COLA Cut Repeal at Press Conference

Alexandria, Va. — Retired Navy Vice Adm. Norb Ryan, President and CEO of Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), spoke at a Capitol Hill press conference today on S.1982, the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014.  The bill includes a provision that would repeal the 1% COLA Cut to working age military retirees’ pensions that was established under the Bipartisan Balanced Budget Act late last year.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, held the press conference to urge Senate passage of the legislation. S. 1982 contains a big package of veterans’ benefits upgrades that were voted out of Sanders’ committee on a bi-partisan basis last year.  The COLA Cut measure was added to a new version of the legislation introduced as S. 1982.   

“MOAA deeply appreciates the inclusion of a provision in S. 1982 that repeals the unfair 1% COLA Cut of the earned pensions of working age military retirees established in the Balanced Budget Act,” Ryan said.

The legislation would accomplish major MOAA priorities for veterans: 

  • Extend two-year (advance) funding to more accounts (beyond health care) in the  Dept. of Veterans Affairs
  • Expand Caregiver compensation and services to support severely disabled veterans of all conflict eras (limited at present to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts)
  • Establish in-state tuition rates at public colleges for all student veterans using the new GI Bill
  • Honor as veterans certain career Reserve members eligible for reserve retired pay
  • Authorize Post-9/11 GI Bill educational assistance to the surviving spouses of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts via the “Gunnery Sgt. John D. Fry Scholarship Program”
  • Permit widow(er)s eligible for DIC to retain the benefit if they remarry at age 55
  • Improve care and services for veterans who were sexually assaulted in military service
  • Extend VA health care enrollment opportunity for OIF-OEF veterans from 5 to 10 years after separation
  • Renew job re-training under the VOW to Hire Heroes Act veterans retraining assistance program
  • Require more timely claims backlog reporting

"MOAA thanks Sen. Sanders again for leading the charge on this very important piece of legislation and looks forward to Congress finding a bipartisan solution to fund this bill,” Ryan concluded.