Dem amendment to UI restores military retiree benefit cuts

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced an amendment to the unemployment insurance bill that would raise taxes on corporations with offshore accounts.

Shaheen’s amendment would use the $6.6 billion in new tax revenue to restore cuts made in the budget to cost-of-living adjustments for military retiree benefits.

ADVERTISEMENT
The Senate is considering a $6.4 billion three-month extension to unemployment benefits. On Dec. 28, 1.3 million people lost their long-term unemployment benefits.

“My plan represents a common-sense approach to restore the cost of living adjustments for future military retirees,” Shaheen said Wednesday. “I hope we can get a vote on this amendment as we’re considering an extension of emergency unemployment insurance.”

Currently companies can claim foreign status to avoid paying U.S. taxes if they are incorporated offshore yet managed within the United States. Shaheen’s amendment would eliminate the tax break.

The bipartisan budget deal passed last year reduced the COLA for most military retiree by 1 percent, but the cut doesn’t take effect until 2015. Shaheen said it was important for Congress to restore that $6 billion cut that was used to reduce military spending cuts from sequestration.

“I supported the bipartisan budget agreement we passed last year because it will help create economic certainty for our small businesses, promote job creation, and protect us from another government shutdown that can wreak havoc on our economy,” Shaheen said. “But I also knew it wasn’t perfect which is why I’m proposing a smart fix to one of its flaws.”

It’s unclear if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will allow amendments to S. 1845, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act. Republicans have offered several amendments to pay for the bill. And Reid has said the veterans benefits issue will likely be addressed in the omnibus spending deal currently under negotiation.

Democratic Sens. Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Mark Warner (Va.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Chris Coons (Del.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (La.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Al Franken (Minn.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) are cosponsoring Shaheen’s amendment.

Later Wednesday, the Senate is expected to pass a motion to proceed to the unemployment bill and debate it for the rest of the week.