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Letter: Budget deal unfairly targets veterans, retirees


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From: Russell Poling Sr.

Columbus

Received: Dec. 18

I am disappointed in Indiana Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Young. They voted for the Ryan-Murray budget deal, which unfairly targets military retirees and disabled veterans. I am a military retiree and do not agree with this cut. The really sad part is the attack on disabled veterans. Many of these men and women lost limbs or suffered traumatic brain injuries in combat.

To cut their annual raise is beyond disgusting. To add insult to injury, this deal exempts current federal civilian employees from any cuts in their pensions.

It only affects employees yet to be hired.

That part will not affect their pension; it only requires them to pay 1.3 percent more of their pay into their pension fund. Why were they exempt? Could it be due to their labor union?

When my part of Columbus was in the 9th District, I supported Young primarily due to his stance on honoring veterans and standing up for them. When I became part of the 6th District, I felt the same about Messer. Based on their support of this bill, without offering an amendment to strip the military part out, I now wonder how committed they really are to the military.

I am also disappointed with Rep. Paul Ryan, former vice presidential candidate. When he was asked about this attack on veterans, he claimed that the veterans would not be seriously affected since so many people retire young enough to get another job.

What he fails to understand is that those retirees that go back to work have to since it is impossible to live off just a pension. A four-star general with over 30 years of service might get a great pension, but not everyone can retire as a four-star general.

Another thing that folks do not realize is that a military pension is fully taxed by the federal government and many states. Many of my friends and family believed my military pension is tax-free.

I have contacted Messer about this but have yet to receive a response from him. I have also contacted Indiana Sens. Joe Donnelly and Dan Coats asking them to vote against this deal or to at least support an amendment to remove the military pension piece. I will be watching how the senators vote on this deal. I am pleased that Coats voted no on cloture.

There are many ways to save money. Taking hard-earned benefits from members of the military is not the right way to do it.

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