Freshman Democrat Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) held two budget events in her Western Illinois district on Tuesday. The events, in which constituents pick their priorities for spending, are designed to support the argument that government needs more revenue. Beyond that, however, Bustos used the event to say how “pleased” she was to vote for the Paul Ryan-Patty Murray budget that increases spending, raises user fees and cuts veterans’ pensions.
In an audio recording obtained exclusively by Breitbart News, Rep. Bustos discusses her happiness with the current budget deal. “And uh, we know, um, as American citizens, how important budgets are because they are really–it, it funds what is important to us as a nation,” Bustos says. “So when we make decisions about how we’re going to pay for education, for infrastructure, or defense, or social security or medicare, these are all decisions we’ve made when we look at the budget.”
It was widely reported ahead of the House vote that the Ryan budget cuts pension for current veterans and active-duty military personnel. The deal exempts current federal employees from pension cuts, but subjects those that risk their lives for our freedom to cuts in their benefits. The pension changes even apply to those who were wounded in the field, fighting for our country. As my colleague Matt Boyle has reported, the application of the pension changes to wounded warriors was known at least two days before the House vote.
Yet, on Tuesday, Rep. Bustos had this to say about the budget deal cutting military pension benefits, “I’m very pleased with the fact that last week we passed a bipartisan budget, that we came together, and uh, we did what was right for America.”
The cut military pensions only saves around $6 billion over the next decade. Worse, these “savings,” i.e. takings from veterans’ pension checks, are devoted to covering increased federal spending, rather than deficit reduction or paying down the national debt.
The savings from cutting military pensions are a rounding error in a budget that will spend around $40 trillion over the next ten years. For the families impacted, however, the cuts are enormous. Rep. Bustos could have offered an amendment to protect veterans’ pensions. She chose not to.
Perhaps she was simply overcome with her “pleasure” at voting for a budget, finally.