Sanders to chair veterans committeeDecember 13,2012Sanders to chair veterans committee
WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernard Sanders has been named chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made the announcement while listing committee assignments for the next session of Congress.
As the White House and lawmakers are in the final stages of negotiating a year-end debt reduction deal, Sanders, an independent, said his first order of business is to stop a proposal that would slash benefits for disabled veterans. “It is morally and economically unacceptable that anyone in Congress would propose balancing our budget by making significant cuts for disabled veterans,” Sanders said.
A proposed switch to a so-called chained CPI, a new way to measure consumer prices and calculate cost-of-living adjustments, would drastically reduce benefits for veterans and their families. The largest cuts would impact young, permanently disabled veterans who were seriously wounded in combat. According to the Social Security Administration, permanently disabled veterans who started receiving VA disability benefits at age 30 would see their benefits cut by more than $1,300 a year at age 45; $1,800 a year at age 55; and $2,260 a year at age 65.
Sanders has served on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee for six years. He replaces Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who was appointed the new chair of the Senate Budget Committee.
Earlier this year, Sanders won a Congressional Leadership Award from the Disabled American Veterans. He has helped pass legislation to provide over $57 million to help severely disabled veterans adapt their homes to better accommodate their disabilities and supported legislation to assist the caregivers of severely wounded warriors.
In addition to the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Sanders sits on four other standing committees: Budget; Environment and Public Works; Energy and Natural Resources; and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
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