On Wednesday, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who brokered the budget deal with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), claimed the cuts to disabled veterans benefits were “mistakenly” included in the agreement and vowed to rectify the “unintended inclusion.”
Murray, the Chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, made her remarks before the budget passed the Senate by a 64-36 vote Wednesday. The House passed the deal last week. The budget raises spending beyond the sequester levels and has been resoundingly criticized as a tax increase.
Criticism intensified once details emerged that the budget cut $6 billion in benefits for wounded and disabled veterans even as it kept tax credits for illegal immigrants. As Breitbart News investigative reporter Matthew Boyle has shown, Ryan’s staff scrubbed an original false claim that the budget deal “would not affect service members who retired because of disability or injury.” Moreover, House GOP leaders reportedly also knew of this provision and did nothing about it.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking member on the Budget Committee, tried to halt the cuts and eliminate the benefits to illegal immigrants before the vote but failed to gain the support that was needed to do so. Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) joined Murray in saying the “technical error” would be addressed and fixed in a “stand-alone bill.”
As The Hill noted, tweaks cannot be made to the bill this week because the House left Congress for the holidays after passing the deal last week.