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Reid: Cut to military pensions could be addressed in omnibus

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTo end sugar subsidies, conservatives can't launch a frontal attack House presses Senate GOP on filibuster reform A pro-science approach to Yucca Mountain appropriations MORE (D-Nev.) on Tuesday hinted that some cuts to military retiree pensions could be reversed in the omnibus bill funding the government.

The Democratic leader blocked an attempt by Republicans to add an amendment to the unemployment insurance bill that would have restored the $6 billion cut to military pensions approved in last month’s budget deal.

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Reid said that he was opposed to adding the amendment to the unemployment measure because the cuts are likely to be addressed in the omnibus spending bill that is being negotiated by Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiRobert Mueller's forgotten surveillance crime spree Clinton: White House slow-walking Russia sanctions Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns MORE (D-Md.) and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.).

"I would bet that that’s addressed in this deal that Mikulski and Rogers come up with, this helping veterans," Reid said.

The pension cut negotiated late last year by Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 House passes stopgap spending measure with defense money MORE (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayLawmakers eye retirement help for gig economy workers Overnight Regulation: Labor Department reportedly hid unfavorable report on tip-pooling rule | NY plans to sue EPA over water rule | Senators urge FTC to probe company selling fake Twitter followers Trump's vows to take on drug prices, opioids draw skepticism MORE (D-Wash.) would hold the increase in the payments to 1 percentage point below inflation beginning in December 2015.

Under intense pressure from military advocates, one in three lawmakers have come out in favor of reversing the cuts to working-age military retiree pensions. Sen. Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinThe Hill's 12:30 Report Congress needs bipartisanship to fully investigate Russian influence Congress: The sleeping watchdog MORE (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, added new heft to the push on Tuesday by backing legislation from Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteAudit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years No, the US did not spend million on a gas station in Afghanistan MORE (R-N.H.) that would reverse the benefit reductions.

More than a dozen bills have been introduced to repeal the pension cuts, but there is no bipartisan agreement on how the measure should be paid for.

A spokesman for Murray said the senator is open to reversing the cuts, but only if there's a replacement for the $6 billion saved by reducing military retiree benefits.

Afix to the cuts to exclude medically retired members will come "early on" in the congressional session, the spokesman said, but he was not sure whether it would come as stand-alone legislation or as part of the omnibus spending bill.

The omnibus spending bill is expected to be released as early as Wednesday, and would fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2014.

— Ramsey Cox contributed.