Tester calls on Bush to sign vets' cost-of-living increase

(BIG SANDY, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester today called on President Bush to sign this year’s cost-of-living increase for 18,000 Montanans, and millions of other Americans, who rely on VA benefits.

The measure is now on the President’s desk after passing through Congress earlier this week

“Democrats and Republicans agree this is the right thing to do, and the President needs to sign this bipartisan measure now,” Tester said.  “Signing this increase into law will be a clear signal that we’re very serious about living up to the promises made to all veterans.”

The exact percentage of the cost-of-living increase will be determined in October, but it is usually around 2.5-3 percent.  If signed into law, the increase will go into effect December 1.

Currently veterans and survivors who rely on VA benefits depend on Congress for annual cost-of-living increases.  That’s why Tester reached across party lines to sponsor legislation requiring automatic increases.

“These are promised benefits all veterans deserve no matter what politicians in


are up to,” said Tester, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  “It’s just common sense to take Congress and the White House out of the equation.”