The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Obama signs debt ceiling, military cost of living benefits measures into law

  • Print

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - President Barack Obama on Saturday signed separate measures into law to lift the federal debt limit and restore benefits that had been cut for younger military retirees.

Obama signed the bills during a weekend golf vacation in Southern California.

The debt limit measure allows the government to borrow money to pay its bills, such as Social Security benefits and federal salaries. Failure to pass the measure, which the Senate passed 67-31 earlier this week and sent to Obama for his signature, most likely would have sent the stock market into a nosedive.

The Treasury Department is now free to borrow regularly through March 15, 2015, meaning lawmakers won't have to revisit the issue until a new Congress is sworn in after the November elections.

Separate legislation passed in December would have held annual cost-of-living increases for veterans age 62 and younger to 1 percentage point below the rate of inflation, beginning in 2015. The measure was designed to hold the line on the soaring cost of government benefit programs, which have largely escaped trillions of dollars in deficit cuts over the past three years.

The cuts were enacted less than two months ago, with a projected savings to the government of $7 billion over a decade. Veterans groups and some lawmakers said the cut was a mistake, and they began campaigning to have the benefits restored.

The pensions go to veterans who retire after 20 years of service, regardless of their age. Nearly 2 million retirees currently are eligible, including about 840,000 under age 62, according to the Pentagon.

For a sergeant first class who leaves the service at age 42 after two decades, the bill passed in December would have meant an estimated $72,000 in reduced pension payments.

Quick action by lawmakers on this year's debt limit bill stands in contrast to lengthy showdowns in 2012 and last fall, when Republicans sought to use the must-pass bill as leverage to win concessions from Obama. They succeeded in 2011, winning about $2 trillion in spending cuts. But Obama has been unwilling to negotiate over the debt limit since his re-election in 2012.

The bill he signed Saturday is the third consecutive debt measure to pass Congress without concessions from the White House.

Republicans also have been less confrontational since a 16-day partial government shutdown last October sent the party's poll numbers skidding.

Both bills were flown out to Obama in California late Friday night, a White House aide said.

___

Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Family of Matias De Antonio speaks outside Law Courts

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(  Standup photo)-    A butterfly looks for nector on a lily Tuesday afternoon in Wolseley-JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- June 22, 2010
  • A group of Horese pose for the camera in the early evening light at Southcreek Stables in Stl Norbert Wednessday. Sept  14, 2011 (RUTH BONNEVILLE) / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Now that the snow is mostly gone, what are your plans?

View Results

Ads by Google