WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said his bill to restore military retiree benefits would pay for the cost by reducing Saturday U.S. mail delivery.
The measure would repeal $6 billion saved through cutting military retirement benefits and replace that provision with a projected $17 billion in savings over 10 years by stopping U.S. Postal Service letter delivery Saturday while keeping package delivery, the House Oversight Committee chairman said.
The cuts in scheduled cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees under age 62 were part of the budget deal reached by House and Senate budget negotiators Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., in late December.
The budget, which provides $63 billion in so-called sequester relief and $85 billion in deficit reduction over two years, passed both chambers two weeks ago and was signed into law by President Obama Dec. 26 while on family vacation in Hawaii.
The pension cuts, which are to take effect starting in 2016, drew criticism from military leaders, veterans groups, service organizations and conservative lawmakers.
Ryan and Murray have defended the provision in the budget deal.
House and Senate leaders have not said if they plan to address the retirement cuts when Congress returns next week, the Hill said.
"This legislation will restore cost-of-living adjustments for our military retirees and not only replace the savings but nearly triple them -- saving $17 billion over 10 years according to conservative USPS estimates," Issa said in a statement.
"This commonsense reform will help restore the cash-strapped Postal Service to long-term solvency and is supported by the president and key congressional leaders in both chambers," he said.
Issa backed Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe's February 2013 proposal to stop Saturday letter delivery.
But Donahoe backed away from the plan after lawmakers said the Postal Service could not cut back six-day delivery on its own.
President Obama has proposed letting the Postal Service end Saturday mail delivery and realign its business plan to better compete in the changing marketplace.