We Asked—Congress Answered: COLA Cuts Repealed!

Keep Your Promise Infograph

President Barack Obama signed legislation Saturday, February 15 that repealed the provision of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 that capped annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increases for working age military retirees at 1 percent. This is effective for all service members entering service before this year— the repeal will still apply to those who enter the service after January 1, 2014.

On Tuesday, January 28, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) held a hearing on the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and its effect on the military retirement system. Our Association submitted a statement for the record strongly opposing this provision and urging that it be repealed. We also encouraged Congress to wait for the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission to issue its comprehensive report on the military compensation system before making any piecemeal changes. The Commission’s report is due in February 2015.

Most encouraging of all was the overwhelming voice heard from currently serving military families who rallied using social media in opposition to the COLA cuts under the hashtag #KeepYourPromise. Twitter town halls, a Facebook page, and a barrage of emails and other correspondence to Congressional members raised the visibility of the issue immeasurably.

Military families’ voices were heard. Speaking to representatives from veterans’ and military service organizations, who also testified before the committee, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) remarked on the volume of email messages and phone calls his office has received on the COLA cuts. He said, “I think we are firmly committed to fixing this problem. And without those emails, I'm not so sure we would be as firmly committed as we are.”

Keep speaking up! Let your representatives in Congress know how you feel about the military compensation system and how proposed cuts would affect you and your family. Use this tool to find out how to contact your Representatives and Senators.

Our Association fights to oppose unwarranted threats to the military compensation system, including the commissary. See what we are talking to policymakers about this year.


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