THE UPROAR was swift and immediate, with the blame falling on Democratic Senator Patty Murray. It was easy to smell a rat, because all you had to do is look at her budget deal partner Rep. Paul Ryan, who has a history of not only calling for federal pension reform, but wields the scalpel in any room where entitlements are concerned.
The military pension cut that riled veterans groups is in line with Rep. Ryan’s entire philosophy about government spending and what can be carved out.
From Politico, who couches it the headline like everyone else has so far, that it was Murray alone who got the military pension cut into the budget deal, then buries the lede:
“This was something that Ryan pushed for,” said a source close to the negotiations, discussing the issue on the condition of not being identified.
Ryan’s backing of the provision would make sense, given that he’s long called for major reforms to federal pensions. But an aide to the Wisconsin Republican sidestepped the question on Wednesday, noting the two budget committee leaders both agreed to the terms of the deal.
Of course Ryan “sidestepped the question.” It’s what austerity Republicans do when they’ve been caught cutting popular programs important to citizens, this time veterans.
Remember when Ryan, Romney and the Republicans railed against Medicare “cuts” Democrats had proposed? Few bothered to call them on it, though Stephanie Cutler had no trouble unloading on Republicans, because the $700 billion Medicare “cuts” were the same ones included in Ryan’s own budget.
Senator Lindsey Graham is leading the demagoguery on the military pension cuts, which will be nowhere in sight when this shakes out in 2014.
There are plenty of weapons and waste to cut in the Pentagon, which both parties have agreed is important. There is only one leading champion of entitlement and federal pension “reform,” with a cold eye towards people who rely on these programs, his name is Paul Ryan.