24 June 2009

House approves dodgy bill to temporarily increase disabled servicemembers' retiree pay

Yesterday Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) who is the chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, introduced the Disabled Military Retiree Relief Act of 2009, HR 2990. The bill, which is available on Thomas, can be found here. The full House also passed the bill by voice vote of 404-0. Skelton's press release can be found here. Those American servicemembers shy of 20 years service and who are disabled would be able to draw full retirement pay over a five year period. There is an estimated 121,000 veterans receiving disability retirement pay.

President Barack Obama had proposed this as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2010. President Obama's proposal can be found here. The Office of Budget and Management also issued a statement yesterday, which can be found here, concerning the House bill for NDAA FY 2010, HR 2647.

It appears HR 2990 is quite dodgy in that only those with disabilities rated 90 percent or higher would receive their full retirement benefits. Notwithstanding, but on 1 October 2010 the extra payments would cease altogether. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) issued a press release which can be found here. Wilson has criticized the bill as a "ghost of the proposal submitted by President Obama." The bill's name is deceiving because the majority of the $968 (USD) million does not even deal with military benefits but that of retirement and sick pay for federal civilian workers - only $228 (USD) million deals with veterans and the rest is for federal civilian employees.

Come on Congress, you can do much better for our disabled servicemember retirees than this dodgy bill. Granted, the bill is a start, but it's still dodgy.

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