WASHINGTON--Concord Coalition Co-Chairs Sam Nunn and Warren Rudman sent a letter to all members of Congress today urging the rejection of a provision in the omnibus spending bill that would substantially repeal the 1986 military pension reforms.
"We urge you in the strongest possible terms to reject this unwise, expensive, and untimely provision," write former Sen. Nunn (D-Ga.) and former Sen. Rudman (R-N.H.). "Both of us believe unequivocally in a strong defense and a responsible fiscal policy. Repealing the 1986 military pension reforms will produce neither."
The letter notes that the 1986 military pension reforms were designed and approved on a bipartisan basis after several years of study and hearings. The reforms reined in excessive costs and overhauled outdated aspects of the pension system.
"These reforms should not be lightly tossed aside in a last-minute omnibus spending bill," Nunn and Rudman write. "If changes of this magnitude are to be made, they should be done only after full consideration by the appropriate committees and full and informed debate by the House and Senate."
In the near term, the repeal provision requires appropriating $7.3 billion over the coming decade to pay the "employers' share" of increasing military pensions in the future. This $7.3 billion will have to be squeezed out of the very tight level of appropriations allowed under the spending caps agreed to in the 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement. In the long term, repeal of the 1986 reforms would expand the stream of future entitlements by about $8 billion a year.
MEDIA ADVISORY: The full text of the letter and additional background information is available under the entitlement reform section of the Concord Coalition's web site (www.concordcoalition.org). To receive a fax copy of the letter and/or the background materials, reporters should call Craig Cheslog at (202) 467-6222.