While Congressional Republicans wave the flag with one hand, they are trying to cut benefits for 70,000 veterans with the other. President Obama has vowed to veto the bill, and House Democrats are promising to sustain that veto.
On Tuesday, President Obama threatened to veto the Republican bill, “The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2029, making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and for other purposes. The bill fails to fully fund critical priorities, including veterans’ medical care and military and VA construction. Furthermore, the legislation includes a highly problematic ideological rider that would constrain the President’s ability to protect our national security. If the President were presented with H.R. 2029, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”
Today, House Democrats also stood up for vets by opposing the legislation.
Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), chairman of the Democratic Caucus, said the GOP’s bill would scale back health benefits for roughly 70,000 veterans, while also denying funds for medical research, education and veterans’ cemeteries.
“The secretary came and sent a very strong message, something we rarely hear: ‘Please don’t let this funding bill become law if you care about our veterans. We must do better for them,'” Becerra said.
Republicans didn’t just take away a little bit of funding from veterans. The Republican funding bill is $1 billion short of what the VA needs in order to be able to provide care and services to the nation’s veterans. Since taking control of the House, Republicans have tried to cut veterans’ benefits on a nearly yearly basis. In 2012, House Republicans tried to cut benefits while privatizing healthcare. In 2013, House Republicans tried to cut food assistance for 170,000 vets and their families. In 2014, Senate Republicans blocked a veterans’ benefits bill.
President Obama and his party have defied the partisan rhetoric coming from the right by trying to provide veterans with the support and services that they earned. The nation’s promise to its veterans should be sacred, but Republicans consistently demonstrate that if given the choice they will always put the wealthy and corporations ahead of those who have risked their lives for their country.