Senate Joint Resolution 16 urges Congress to guarantee pension benefits for existing service members
JUNEAU – This morning, the Alaska State Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 16, which urges the United States Congress to ensure that service members who signed up under the current retirement system receive the benefits they were promised. SJR 16, sponsored by Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), also urges Congress to pass HR 3520: Keeping Our Promises Act of 2011, which would guarantee service members the benefits they were promised when they joined the Armed Forces.
The move to protect these critical benefits started last year when the Defense Business Board suggested converting military retirement from the current 20-year vesting system to a retirement system similar to a 401k as a way to cut costs. The Pentagon is seeking to trim $487 billion dollars from the Department of Defense budget over the next 10 years.
“The Pentagon should not balance its budget on the backs of service members and their families,” said Senator Wielechowski. “We have a responsibility to keep the promises we make to our men and women in uniform, who are putting their lives on the line for our safety and security.”
Currently, a military service member who serves for 20-years can retire with their pension immediately; however, the plan suggested by the Defense Business Board may not allow members to withdraw their retirement until they reach age 60-65 and it may not grandfather in current service members.
“By gutting the guaranteed pension program, we destroy one of the key programs that help the military recruit and keep its best and brightest,” said Senator Wielechowski. “If this plan goes through, we will have created a bait-and-switch situation, which will harm those whose mission is to protect us. I will continue to fight to make sure these men and women get what they were promised.”
For more information, please call Senator Wielechowski at 242-1558 or Kendra Kloster at 465-2435.