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Military pension bill advances in Senate

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WASHINGTON — The Senate took the first step Monday toward approving legislation that restores full cost-of-living increases to pension benefits for military retirees under age 62, although it’s unclear when the measure may pass.

Monday’s vote was 94 to 0 to advance the bill over an initial hurdle.

As drafted by majority Democrats, the $7 billion, 10-year cost of the legislation would add to the deficit. Republicans want cuts elsewhere in the budget to prevent that from happening.

The measure would reverse one part of a budget bill that cleared Congress late last year. Under the provision, cost-of-living increases in pension benefits for military retirees under age 62 would be held below the rate of inflation beginning in 2015. Veterans groups have protested the change.

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