In case you haven't heard, military families have a new hero. It's Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont!
Bernie has been a long time friend of veterans and has often presented legislation to help them and their families. That comes as no surprise to those of us who keep up with Bernie.
When Congress passed the BBA of 2013 and failed to renew unemployment benefits for thousands of Americans, they also chose to cut COLA raises to pensions of military retirees. They did this to save a grand $6 billion in 10 years (not even a 10th of the R&D budget for a single year). The people asking them to make these cuts, the generals who are supposed to not only lead our service members but to fight for them, have said that personnel costs are growing rapidly and they are unsustainable. According to MOAA (Military Officers Association of America), the costs have remained steady with the rest of military defense spending, maintaining a straight 30% of the budget for decades. The only growth that is happening is the same growth that is occurring to the entire defense budget. Want to control personnel costs? Then control the entire DoD.
So Bernie introduced a fix by adding a section to a bill he has long been working on:
I know this doesn't come as a surprise to many of you as Bernie has long been a defender of veterans. It has come as a shock to some in the military community. A few had never heard of Bernie and were amazed to learn that he is a socialist. And this is the kind of opening of minds that I love. I don't think socialism will gain any new followers from this but it has made many a military family realize that a label alone doesn't tell the complete picture.
Join me below the fold for a twitter recap of the highlights of the bill... feel free to retweet those that you think are the most important! Help spread the word and lets get S1950 passed!