Bill will fix military pension COLA cuts

A measure sponsored by Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and several other senators will fully pay for a fix to military retiree cuts that were included in the recent budget agreement.

“Our bill is a sensible measure that not only fixes the COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) reduction for military retirees that was in the budget, but also fully pays for it,” said Hoeven. “In addition, it also pays for the extension in unemployment insurance benefits to ensure that we don’t increase the nation’s deficit or debt.”

Last week the senators introduced the Responsible Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2014. The legislation will repeal the COLA reduction and extend Emergency Unemployment Insurance benefits for three months, fully paying for both so that they don’t add to the country’s deficit and debt.

Hoeven met with Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James during a visit to Minot Air Force Base Wednesday about the legislation to fix the military pension COLA reductions, and some of the recently completed construction projects completed at the base and the need to complete upcoming improvements to further strengthen the facility.

Last month, Hoeven announced that a $32 million contract was awarded for the base’s 2014 runway repairs and improvements, the last portion of the three-year runway project.

Defense legislation in the fiscal 2014 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, which Congress passed in December, includes more than $30 million for three major projects at Minot AFB: a B-52 aircraft maintenance facility; B-52 munitions storage facilities, or “igloos;” and replacing an aging fuel pipeline that supports aircraft operations on the base.

The recently passed appropriations omnibus includes an amendment that Hoeven sponsored ensuring the Air Force will retain all of its 450 Minuteman III silos, 150 of which are in the Minot missile complex.