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- January 16, 2014
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Just before recessing in December, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. The act was critical to taking care of our active-duty military and providing them relief from mindless automatic across-the-board cuts required by the "sequester.”
Ensuring our sons and daughters in uniform get what they need was a good reason to support the budget deal.
However, in doing active-duty troops immediate good, the budget also changed cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments on certain military retirement pensions.
I voted for the budget deal because sequestration has been seriously hurting our national security and our nation’s economy. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 ensures we are able to partially restore critical funding to adequately train and equip our active duty Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines. Reduced training means increased risk when we ask service members to fight. That’s unacceptable to those who are currently serving. It’s unacceptable to their spouses and children, too
Days after we voted on the Bipartisan Budget Act, I sponsored legislation to restore these pensions. Last week, I also wrote the Speaker of the House and key negotiators asking for a vote on the bill I and 95 other Members of Congress sponsored. In a separate letter, I also asked the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to maintain the pension funds at their current level and make no change to the current system.
My letters called for immediate action. On Monday, Chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees – charged with funding the federal government – offered a fix to COLA adjustments for medically retired personnel and their survivors. I thank the House and Senate Appropriations Committees for doing what’s right by restoring the COLA adjustment for disabled veterans and their families.
My father was a veteran, and I know how much our service members and their families sacrifice for our country. For me, taking care of our vets is a no-brainer. Taking meaningful steps to stop the cuts to our active duty men and women was absolutely necessary. We must keep our promise to all who serve.
I take heat for working side by side with Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and progressives, to advance the interests of our kids, our country and our future. Mine isn’t a partisan voting record. In fact, it’s one of the most bipartisan voting records. We must honor the men and women who served – through real actions and not lip service. After all, actions speak louder than words.
U.S. Representative Pete Gallego represents the 23rd Congressional District of Texas, which includes all or parts of 29 counties in southwest Texas, spanning from San Antonio to El Paso. He serves on the House Armed Services and House Agriculture Committees.