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Sat Jan 25, 2014, 10:42 AM

Is COLA cap relief now tied to rocket or falling star?


Is COLA cap relief now tied to rocket or falling star?
Contributing Writer
January 25, 2014

Senate Democrats have tied repeal of the COLA cap for working-age military retirees to a mammoth veterans health and benefits bill that they aren’t sure yet how to pay for or whether Republicans will support it.

In earlier war years, a maneuver like this might have enhanced prospects for repeal of the cost-of-living adjustment cap, which Congress enacted only last month to save $6 billion over 10 years as part of a bipartisan budget deal.

This year, however, there’s a whiff of desperation about the surprise legislative pairing. COLA cap repeal is a matter that normally falls under the jurisdiction of the armed services committee. Indeed, the Senate Armed Services Committee plans to hold a hearing on it Tuesday.

But Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has made COLA cap repeal a feature of his bill, S.1950, which he calls “one of the most comprehensive pieces of legislation … in decades.” Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., he said, backs the move.

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