While it may not be the compromise that advocates for military benefits wanted, the across-the-board cuts to the cost of living adjustments in veterans benefits packages were repealed by Congress. Some veterans groups are happy to have preserved pensions for retirees that have already served in active duty, but are still unhappy that Congress has voted to keep the COLA cuts in place for all new enlistees.

Fighting back on COLA cuts reported on the repeal of the bill which was initially written in response to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's recommendation that the military's future operational capabilities would be hampered by its financial commitment to retirees. Veterans groups and lawmakers railed against the bill for weeks, and the late hours of Feb. 13 saw Congress vote to exempt current retirees and enlisted servicemembers from the COLA cuts. However, any soldier who joined or planned to join the military on or after Jan. 1, 2014 will still be affected by the reduction to their veterans benefits.

Director of government relations for Military Officers Association of America Air Force Col. Michael F. Hayden was glad to hear of the compromise on the bill, but he admitted it wasn't what he and his colleagues were hoping for.

"I can't call it a clear cut victory because we were looking for full repeal," Hayden told

Other veterans groups were less supportive of Congress's decision to push the budget cuts on new members of the Armed Forces.

"[This] is a compromise we cannot support because it does so at the expense of future military retirees who will be required to serve and sacrifice just as much as their predecessors," Joe Davis, spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars told Stars and Stripes. "The VFW wants a full repeal of the COLA penalty for all generations, and we hope this vote continues that conversation."

Moving numbers, shifting figures
The COLA cuts will reduce retirees' pensions during their life after service by one percentage point under inflation, and while that may not sound like much, The Washington Post reported that new enlistees stand to lose upwards of $69,000 while officers would see an average of $87,000 vanish into thin air.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash, told the press that Congress had passed the bill without a serious review of its impact on the national budget. Smith also criticized the move as a pass-the-buck maneuver, with politically-conscious politicians electing to make an expedient choice rather than a difficult one.