Senators fight for Guardsmen's war pension
PROTECTED SHORES: 26 members of Territorial Guard could lose funds.
By ERIKA BOLSTAD
Published: September 25th, 2009 11:24 AM
Last Modified: September 26th, 2009 04:18 PM
WASHINGTON -- In a strongly worded message to Congress outlining presidential priorities for a military spending bill, the Obama administration said Friday it disapproved of including money for pensions for 26 elderly members of the World War II-era Alaska Territorial Guard.
The White House move drew swift rebuke from the state's two senators, Republican Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Mark Begich, who had together sponsored the pension fix.
The legislation honors 26 elderly Alaskans who are the few remaining survivors of a military unit that served the country with valor, Murkowski said, calling the administration's direction "deeply disappointing, bordering on insensitive."
A Senate military spending bill up for a vote in the Senate allows the former Guard members to count their service as part of active military duty, and it reinstates the pension payments.