Special to the Journal
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Johnny Isakson R-Ga., urged their colleagues to support their amendment to the unemployment benefits legislation that would reverse the unfair Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) reduction for military retirees and disabled military retirees included in the recent budget agreement. The amendment would also pay for a three-month extension of temporary long-term unemployment benefits. Chambliss and Isakson both voted on Tuesday against a procedural motion to begin debate on extending unemployment benefits over concerns that the $6.4 billion cost of the bill is not offset and would increase the national debt over the next 10 years.
The amendment, which was introduced by Senator Kelly Ayotte, R. N.H., would prevent the $6.3 billion in military retiree benefits cuts and pay for a three-month extension of unemployment benefits by stopping a scheme that currently allows illegal immigrants to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit, which currently costs taxpayers billions. The amendment would change the U.S. tax code to require filers to provide Social Security numbers in order to qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit, a requirement that the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates would save approximately $20 billion over 10 years.
“This issue needs to be fixed. It is just not fair to single out those men and women out who put their life in harm’s way to protect America. We can fix it, and we can fix it in the right way. Senator Ayotte has come up with a great pay-for, that’s an all-American pay-for. It is one that needs to be enacted in this bill in the short term and not delayed until 2014 or 2015 when this provision takes effect. I commend her for coming up with this idea, and I look forward to a debate on the floor and the passage of this amendment,” said Chambliss, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a senior member of the Armed Services Committee.
To view Chambliss’ full remarks, click here.
“This is a much-needed amendment that generates the money needed to pay for a three-month extension of unemployment insurance and to protect our military from cuts to their retirement pay,” said Isakson, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. “There’s only one reason Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wouldn’t let this amendment come to the floor, and that’s if he wants a problem rather than a solution. This is a solution for three major problems Congress should be addressing.”
Separately, Chambliss has also introduced a resolution to stop the military pension cuts that were included in the recent budget deal before they go into effect in 2015, which Isakson cosponsored.