Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt slammed Rep. Paul Ryan Tuesday in a heated exchange over the federal spending bill’s pension cuts for active duty military servicemen.
“This will destroy retention, it will destroy morale and it is deeply unfair to the American military,” Hewitt told Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget committee. “…On every level it is an outrage to what we stand for in the Republican party.”
“If you think I wanted to do this…that’s not true,” Ryan said, later adding, “Look, I didn’t write this bill that’s coming to the floor tomorrow…this isn’t a bill that I wrote.” Ryan said that the House Appropriations committee wrote the bill that is expected to pass Wednesday. Ryan repeatedly claimed that he didn’t want to have to support veteran cuts.
The spending bill announced in Congress this week leaves 90 percent of the veteran pension cuts from last months’ Ryan-Murray budget deal in place.
Ryan pointed out that military servicemen have been given ten federal pay raises since 9/11. “This doesn’t kick in until 2016,” Ryan insisted, which will give lawmakers time to figure out “perhaps another way” to offset or reverse the cuts. In the meantime, Ryan said, “we just freed up $6 billion for [military] readiness.”
“They’re not buying this,” Hewitt said, referring to his audience. “They know that you can stop this and you’re not…”
The Daily Caller reported last week that a vast cross-section of Republican House members voted for the recent two-year budget deal without reading the bill and realizing that it slashes veteran pensions.