United States Congressman Mike Doyle (D-Allegheny) said in a statement Wednesday that he is disappointed with the passage of a bill to restore cuts in early military retirees’ cost of living adjustments.
Doyle said he is in favor of restoring the $6 billion in cuts, which were the result of a bipartisan budget deal reached in December, but that it shouldn’t have been achieved by extending the Medicare sequester for an additional two years, beginning in 2024.
“I want to see this practice stop where the cuts are always coming to programs like Medicare or Medicaid or unemployment insurance,” Doyle said. “They’re hitting some of the most vulnerable people in the country.”
Doyle said there are plenty of successful corporations that enjoy tax subsidies and loopholes, and he’d like to see them foot some of the bill for military retiree pensions.
“Let’s start at the top, and shave the $6 billion off some of the very wealthiest corporations in the country, not the senior citizens,” Doyle said.
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Washington) voted for the legislation and said Doyle’s characterization of the situation is off-base.
“It’s false to say that this is a cut to Medicare,” Murphy said. “What happens here is that this could affect payments for Medicare providers.”
Murphy said lawmakers are still looking for ways to restore sequester cuts to Medicare.
“This does not pit senior citizens against veterans at all,” Murphy said. “It’s important that we keep our promise with veterans, and with regard to senior citizens, this does not affect any senior citizen.”
The bill easily passed the Senate on Wednesday, with a vote count of 95-3. It will now be sent to President Obama for final approval.