Sessions appeals to appropriators: Restore military pensions by closing welfare loophole

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After Senate Democrats thwarted his effort to prevent military retirement budget cuts at the expense of a welfare loophole, Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions is now calling on Senate and House appropriators to include the spirit of his amendment in their omnibus spending package.

In a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers obtained by The Daily Caller, the Alabama lawmaker laid out his argument for eliminating the cuts to military pensions included in the House and Senate passed two-year budget deal and off set them by preventing unauthorized people from claiming Additional Child Tax Credit payments.

“In the Senate I proposed a replacement, procedurally blocked by the Senate Majority, which I believe could attract bipartisan support,” Sessions wrote Friday. “This replacement would restore the $6 billion [over ten years] to military pensions by instituting a reform proposed by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.”

A 2011 report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that millions of tax filers without Social Security numbers were able to obtain $4.2 billion in Additional Child Tax Credits in 2010, a massive increase from the $924 million in 2005.

“These credits frequently amount to an annual welfare payment, as the majority of illegal immigrants who receive them receive pay no federal income taxes,” Sessions wrote.

He went on to quote from the Inspector General’s report which read, “[T]he payment of Federal funds through this tax benefits appears to provide and additional incentive for aliens to enter, reside, and work in the United States without authorization, which contradicts Federal law and policy to remove such incentives.”

On Thursday, Alabama Republican Rep. Martha Roby and Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick introduced legislation similar to Sessions’ amendment in the House.

“We need to make this right. In the coming weeks, we will try to use our position of strength in the House majority to improve upon the budget agreement and better prioritize our budget savings,” Roby said.

Still Sessions is hoping the appropriators, who are working to complete an omnibus by early January, can take care of the issue.

“We have a clear responsibility to undo the provisions impacting military retirees and replace them instead with this proposed amendment…. Surely we can agree it is better to end the fraudulent abuse of our system by illegally present tax filers than it is to cut the pensions of military men and women, including those who are disabled as a result of their service to our nation,” Sessions concluded.

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