Fitzpatrick Introduces Bill to Protect Military Benefits
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) introduced legislation Thursday to remove the adjustments to military retirement benefits included in the recently passed budget agreement and offset the cost by closing loopholes at the IRS that allow for rampant tax credit fraud.
“This nation desperately needs a return to fiscal normalcy and bipartisan cooperation. While the Bipartisan Budget Act is a step in that direction, it does so partly on the backs of our brave military veterans,” said Fitzpatrick. “What I’ve done is introduce a bill to remove that burden from our military retirees and replace it with common sense reforms to the Child Tax Credit program.”
Fitzpatrick’s bipartisan bill [H.R. 3788] would replace the $6 billion savings in the budget - accomplished by modifying the way military retiree Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) are calculated - by closing loopholes within the tax code that allow people, some of whom are not in the United States legally, to improperly collect tax credits.
“The non-partisan Joint Tax Commission reported last year that by closing the loophole for fraudulent payments, the taxpayer could save nearly $7 billion over 10 years. That’s enough to remove the need to make any changes to military benefits,” explained Fitzpatrick. (A copy of the report is attached)
Fitzpatrick also highlighted a 2011 Treasury Department Investigator General report which put the cost of fraudulent tax credit payments at over $4 billion in 2010 alone. In a letter, Fitzpatrick asked for further information about the report and details about what actions the agency had taken to rectify the problem. (A copy of the letter is attached)
"I fully support Congressman Fitzpatrick’s bill to repeal the reduction in military retirement benefits in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and to require the taxpayer Social Security Number to claim a refundable portion of the child tax credit," said Col. Daniel L. Rubini (Ret.). "This is but one highly desirable step to take to keep the promise made to our soldiers. Get the fraud out of the system and put the money in the hands of our soldiers who have sacrificed so much. They have given to this country more than any other segment of our citizenry."
“Stopping fraud and abuse within the federal government is something we should all agree on - especially when using those dollars to help honor our pledges to our veterans,” added Fitzpatrick. “This bill does that while still keeping a commitment to responsible budgeting.”
The bill had 45 co-sponsors at the time of introduction.
Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.