Ryan calls for more work to address reforms to military retiree benefits

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) recently said a measure that would rollback military retirement reforms outlined in the bipartisan budget agreement would hurt troops by drawing resources away from military modernization and training.

The bipartisan budget agreement reduces cost of living adjustments for military retirees who are younger than 62 to one percentage point below the rate of inflation. The provision is scheduled to go into effect in December 2015.

“The bipartisan budget agreement delayed the military-retirement reforms for two years so the Pentagon’s compensation commission would have time to think of alternative reforms if necessary,” Ryan said. “This bill undercuts that process. Rather than making the tough choices, it sidesteps them. I’m open to replacing this reform with a better alternative. But I cannot support kicking the can down the road.”

In 2012, 2.3 million military retirees and recipients of survivor benefits received approximately $52 billion in payments. Retirement outlays are expected to increase to approximately $55 billion by 2017 and to $59 billion by 2020, according to the Department of Defense Office of the Actuary.

“Our military leaders – and the math – have been clear: Compensation costs are hollowing out the Pentagon’s budget,” Ryan said. “They are taking resources away from training and modernization – and putting our troops at risk. This bill takes away over $6 billion from military readiness.”

Ryan said troops deserve the best equipment on the battlefield and a secure retirement when they come home.