Letters to the Editor

Military once again is getting the shaft | Letters


Rep. Rick Larsen loves to spout off  how he totally supports the military, particularly those bases and personnel in his congressional District, which of course is where we all live.

Yet, given the opportunity to show his support, he does the exact opposite.

In the current budget bill, which he so proudly voted for, is the provision reducing military retirees cost of living allowance, or COLA, by 1 percent each year.

The cuts will have a devastating and long-lasting impact, reducing retired pay for those who serve a 20-year career by nearly 20 percent at age 62. An E-7 retiring at age 40 today would experience a loss of $83,000 in purchasing power and an O-5 $124,000.

These retirees are not only those who served long enough, usually a minimum of 20 years, to retire, but also those medically retired as a result of injuries received on the battle field or elsewhere.

My heart breaks when I see a young people burned so severely their own children are afraid of them. Or those who have lost their legs or arms.

These are the people this provision hurts most. Haven’t they paid enough for their service to this country? Congressional leaders want even more from them so they can give it away to those too lazy to work or someone’s pet political project.

This is the kind of support that Larsen really gives the military.

He said absolutely nothing about this provision during the debate on the bill. He said nothing about it in his “patting myself on the back” press release after the House passed the bill.

Hopefully the Senate will do something about it before the bill is passed.

Unfortunately, Senator Patty Murray, another one of Washington’s “I support the military” mis-representatives, was instrumental in drafting this compromise bill.

Once again, military people take a hit. I lost count of how many times military personnel have “led the way” in reducing the federal deficient. Nothing was done to reduce the COLA’s of any of the millions of civilians working for the federal government.

Of course, the Congressional COLA is also sacred and was not touched.

One has to wonder about the “support for the military” from the likes of Larsen and Murray.

Hopefully your memories will be much longer than just a few weeks.

When these people are up for reelection, they need to be sent a strong message: “We are tired of your lip service to not only the military but the country as a whole.”

As I was composing this letter to the editor, the Senate voted on and passed the bill with the military COLA provision in place.

But, Murray has put on her sneakers again and is doing some fast back peddling.

She is now saying, “The pension cut isn’t final. We wrote this bill in a way that will allow two years before this change is implemented so that Democrats and Republicans can keep working to either improve this provision or find smarter savings elsewhere.”

Her office is also trying to blame the Republican Rep. Paul Ryan for this provision in the bill. Murray is the chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee.

It was in the bill, therefore she had to agree with it.

Now is the time to send these people packing and put real decision makers in Congress.

People who put the country ahead of their own political party, president and political ambitions.

Stephen Smith

Oak Harbor


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