- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rep. Charlie Dent, Pennsylvania Republican, said Wednesday that the fight over repealing cost-of-living adjustment cuts for military retirees included in the 2013 budget deal shows how difficult it will be to make any type of permanent, broad entitlement reform.

“If we can’t make this one stick, it’s going to be hard to do the bigger deals,” he said on MSNBC.

He believed a repeal to the COLA cuts should have been attached to the debt-ceiling increase, which passed the House Tuesday, but said voting on a clean hike was inevitable. Some conservative Republicans agreed behind closed doors that a clean increase would be necessary, but said they wouldn’t vote for it, he said.

“They just wanted someone else to do the heavy lift,” he said.

Despite wanting several things, like the COLA cuts to Keystone pipeline, to be linked to the debt-ceiling deal, Mr. Dent voted to increase the debt ceiling.

“I believe it would be reckless to default on our nation’s obligations, that’s why I felt we had to move forward,” he said.

Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action, said on MSNBC that passing a clean debt-ceiling increase is essentially ignoring the country’s fire alarm warning that spending and debt are getting out of control, and does a disservice to the American people.

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