Military Pension Overhaul Hits Snag As Bill Passed, Then Blocked, By Senate


A proposed overhaul of the U.S. military’s pension system, endorsed by the Pentagon last week, has now hit a roadblock.

The overhaul was one piece of a much larger military bill that included banning the use of torture.

The Senate passed the bill on Thursday, and then threw up an obstacle. From the New York Times:

The Senate on Thursday passed a $600 billion defense policy bill that would rein in pension costs, ban the use of torture and authorize lethal offensive weapons for Ukraine. But it then immediately rejected a measure to pay for it, the first battle in a spending fight that could end in a government shutdown this fall.

The blocking of the military appropriations bill was the first in a series of rejections Democrats have promised as they try to force Republicans into reopening budget talks.

Democrats — and many Republicans — want to lift spending limits imposed in 2011 that are just now being applied across an array of government programs. Absent new bipartisan budget talks — the sort that have often failed in Congress before — President Obama has pledged to veto spending bills if Democrats do not kill them on the Senate floor first.

The defense bill was a particular thorn to Democrats because as written, the Defense Department would be authorized to shift an extra $38 billion in war funds into its regular operating budget. Democrats and the White House have denounced that as a gimmick designed to let the military get around spending restrictions other federal agencies must abide.

As mentioned above, the blocking of the bill has little to do with the retirement overhaul portion of the measure.


Photo by Brian Schlumbohm/Fort Wainwright PAO

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