Congress Restores COLA Increases

The Senate voted 95-3 on Wednesday to restore full cost-of-living pension increases for working-age military retirees. The vote comes one day after the House approved the measure with a vote of 326-90. President Barack Obama has said he will sign the bill, reported ABC News via The Associated Press. The controversial measure, which was expected to save the government $6 billion over 10 years, was included in the bipartisan budget agreement approved in December 2013. Republicans in the House paid for the restored retirement pay by extending cuts to Medicare. The Senate bill maintained the Medicare cuts. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, who last week criticized colleagues for seeking to overturn the cuts, said taking Medicare funds to pay for the COLA funds was a “shell game,” and that rising personnel costs are a real long-term problem that will affect the Defense Department’s ability to maintain readiness.