Count South Carolina U.S Sen. Tim Scott as a “no vote” for the budget bill that is expected to pass the Senate this week.
Scott says, for him the bill is a mixture of a little bit of good, with “too much bad and ugly.” Scott made the comments on Fox News Monday evening.
“It’s good that both sides are talking. We’re having real pension reform, that’s good,” he told Fox’s Greta van Susteren. “But there is two steps back; there is the ugly and the bad. The bad is the fact that we’re paying for over 10 years. The ugly is that we’re asking our military to pay for it for us and not taking care of our responsibilities by cutting spending. We’re simply shifting who pays in our current active-duty military.”
The bill calls for a $6-billion cut in retirement benefits over the next 10 years in order to offset higher spending caused by easing sequestration budget cuts. Scott describes the move as America breaking its promise to veterans.
“You sign up for the military, you’re 18 or 19 years old, you get a promise. You retire at 42, you start to look for America to honor the promise and we say, “We made a promise but we’re going to break that promise by changing your retirement benefit.”
Supporters like Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who helped draft the compromise, say they eliminated a cost-of-living adjustment for working-age retirees to help reduce payments that have consumed a significant part of the Defense Department’s budget.
Scott says with these cuts, a 42-year-old enlisted man would lose about $75,000 over the next 20 years.
Scott’s fellow S.C. senator Lindsey Graham also condemned the deal in a Tuesday news conference.
“Of all the people we could’ve picked on to screw, how could we have arrived here?,” he said. “Seems to me that the average American would want to put these folks last, not first.”