House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted on Wednesday evening that cutting the pensions of disabled and injured U.S. military veterans as part of the deal he forged with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) was a mistake.
Apparently, Ryan knew the mistake was in the legislation for at least two full days before the House vote. He has not, however, provided any explanation for why he did nothing to fix it.
While interviewing him on Kudlow Report on CNBC Wednesday evening, Larry Kudlow asked Ryan if he agreed with a statement Murray made on the Senate floor earlier in the day. “A provision included in this deal that mistakenly included disabled retirees and survivors for changes in the pension growth will be addressed in short order following passage of this bill,” Murray said.
When Kudlow asked Ryan if he “agreed” with Murray’s assessment that the matter was a mistake, Ryan replied that he did:
That will be solved with the technical correction that will pass when Congress comes back into session. We wanted to make sure that we kept military pension retirement better than their civilian counterparts. Civilians who retired before 62 get no cost of living update at all. These military retirees will still get a cost of living update. Then they get the benefits recalculated when they turn 62, to make sure that they got back what they had lost. In effect, build back the base of their pension. Look, Larry, we owe so much to these men and women who fight for us. We wanted to make sure that they always have a better pension system than anybody else in government. We maintain that, and we have very modest reforms to help the Pentagon with their very big budget problems. The Pentagon has some budget problems. We stopped the bleeding, we stopped the cuts, we gave them some mild reforms and we have two years before this actual provision kicks in place to give Congress enough time to adjust it in another way if they want to.
“Let me just be clear on this,” Kudlow responded. “So in other words, you agree that disabled military vets will not take the 1% call for reduction. You agree with that, and that was an oversight?”
“That’s correct,” Ryan answered.
However, Ryan knew what he is now calling a “mistake” and an “oversight” was in the bill two full days before the House of Representatives voted to pass it.
As Breitbart News reported on Wednesday, Ryan’s office had originally published a document with the announcement of the budget deal that falsely claimed that disabled and injured veterans’ pensions would not be affected by the cuts in the plan.
“This would not affect service members who retired because of disability or injury,” the original document read, a copy of which was obtained by Breitbart News.
But Ryan’s office soon learned that claim was not true, so it scrubbed the document to remove the false statement and published a new version of it with accurate information. Ryan’s spokesman Will Allison also admitted that the actions Ryan took to scrub the document to remove that false claim were done two days before the House voted on the bill. However, when asked repeatedly whether Ryan ever actually informed House members of the revisions he made to the budget document, Allison would not answer.
“The original version of that document had incorrect information,” Allison said in an email to Breitbart News on Wednesday. “It was corrected as soon as the error was discovered on the evening of Tuesday, December 10, well before the House considered the legislation.”
Over the course of several email correspondences between late Wednesday evening and early Thursday, Ryan’s office did not answer Breitbart News’ questions about why Ryan did not fix what he now calls a “mistake” and an “oversight” in the legislation before it came up for a vote in the House. Ryan’s office did, however, provide Breitbart News with the transcript of Ryan’s appearance on Kudlow’s program.