Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid calls on Democrats to plow forward on immigration Democrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt 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.
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 MikulskiHarris invites every female senator to dinner next week Will the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? Bottom line 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 RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayUnder pressure, Democrats cut back spending Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised Senate Democrats ditch Hyde amendment for first time in decades 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 LevinOvernight Defense: First group of Afghan evacuees arrives in Virginia | Biden signs Capitol security funding bill, reimbursing Guard | Pentagon raises health protection level weeks after lowering it Biden pays tribute to late Sen. Levin: 'Embodied the best of who we are' Former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm dead at 85 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 AyottePoll: New Hampshire Senate race tight Biden likely to tap Robert Califf to return as FDA head Poll: Potential Sununu-Hassan matchup in N.H. a dead heat 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.