I had the honor of meeting with General Ray Odierno, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, during his visit to Fort Leonard Wood. It was his first visit to Fort Leonard Wood, and gave the Fort a chance to showcase its attributes and to demonstrate its importance to our national security.
I am pleased that General Odierno got to visit Fort Leonard Wood’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School, its U.S. Army Engineering School, and its U.S. Army Military Police School. He also saw the Special Victims Training Unit, which specializes in sexual assault investigations.
The fact that General Odierno visited Fort Leonard Wood should provide Missourians with an indication of the importance the U.S. Army attaches to this installation. He hammered this point home when he told commanders and community leaders Fort Leonard Wood’s i
Finally, the House passed an appropriations bill that funds vital spending priorities while at the same time reducing discretionary spending to 2008 levels. The bill provides for the common defense and prioritizes spending on national security, transportation, and basic health research. In addition, it takes important steps to rein in government spending.
mportant missions are not going anywhere. In fact, he said their importance will be increased as we strive to protect our country against threats and challenges in the future. Those of us familiar with Fort Leonard Wood are well aware of the important work being done there. But it is most welcome to hear praise for Fort Leonard Wood coming from America’s top Army General. I am very optimistic about the future of Fort Leonard Wood.
After meeting with On a related matter, I am taking action to repeal the reductions in military retirement pensions that were part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. I am co-sponsoring legislation that will replace the $6 billion cut to military retiree pensions with a requirement that Social Security numbers be provided by people claiming the child tax credit on their income tax returns. Amazingly, this is not currently required, allowing those who are not authorized to work in the United States from claiming the child tax credit. The Joint Committee on Taxation reported that this change would save $7.6 billion over 10 years, which is more than enough to cover the $6 billion cut to military retiree pensions.
The 2013 Budget Act was a positive step as it restores $30 billion in vital defense spending, reduces the deficit by $23 billion without raising taxes, and brings about budget certainty for the next two years. However, one of the ways it pays for these changes is through decreases in the cost-of-living adjustment for military retirees under age 62. This change violates the principle of ‘Promises Made; Promises Kept’ and must be rectified before this provision takes effect in January of 2016.
This legislative remedy will restore full retirement benefits to our men and women in uniform. This is the least we can do to demonstrate our support for America’s troops, retirees, and veterans.
This bill keeps the faith with our Armed Forces by:
·Meeting the needs of our troops in the field by increasing wartime funding by $5 billion
·Providing over $100 million in construction funds for Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base, ensuring they receive the materials they need to continue to provide for our national defense
·Ensuring wounded military personnel and surviving spouses of the fallen will receive full retirement benefits without any reductions
In addition, this bill brings common-sense reforms to other areas of government including:
·Holding the line on ObamaCare, while reducing Secretary Sebelius’ $1 billion “slush fund”
·Blocking the ATF from implementing any future Fast and Furious type activity
·Decreasing funding at the IRS and cutting EPA staffing to 1989 levels
·Giving Customs and Border Patrol the staffing and equipment needed to secure our borders
·Provisions to protect Second Amendment rights, including prohibitions on various import or export criteria related to firearms
·Provisions to protect life, such as language regarding abortion and federal prisoners, and restrictions on using funds by Legal Services Corporation grantees to participate in abortion-related litigation.
All in all, it allows Congress to move forward with certainty for the next two years without having to move from one crisis situation to another. It is a step in the right direction that will give your representatives the opportunity to focus on many of the issues of concern and to better serve the people of our districts and the entire country.
Have a good week.