Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) said on Fox News on Wednesday that the “secret” nature of the budget negotiations between House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) results in things like cuts to the pensions of veterans included wounded warriors.
“This is what happens when a deal is cut in secret,” Wicker said. “I was on the conference committee. I expected some negotiations to occur, but then I expected them to come back to the conference committee and run the ideas up the flagpole.”
“Perhaps we would have straightened this out had the committee acted. We certainly would have liked to have caught the fact that disabled retired veterans are included in this also,” he stated. “The people who cut the deal told us this didn’t apply to retired disabled veterans. It turns out they were wrong and so we’re going to go back and fix this but I think when you bypass the process and cut a deal with just two people in a room with some staff, you get this sort of thing.”
As Breitbart News reported early on Wednesday, Ryan’s office originally claimed–as Sen. Wicker said on Fox News–that the cuts to veterans’ pensions would not affect disabled or injured veterans. Ryan’s spokesman admitted to Breitbart News that was inaccurate information. Ryan’s committee staff scrubbed the statement from the document and republished an edited version of the document two days before the House voted to approve the Ryan-Murray deal. It is unclear if Ryan or his staff informed any House members of the changes to the talking points before they voting to pass the bill.
As Erick Erickson argued at Red State on Wednesday morning, since Ryan knew that wounded warriors would have their pensions cut before the House vote, he and House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) must own the cuts to veterans’ pensions.