Happy Veterans Day? 5 Times Republicans in Congress Screwed Veterans|
These Republicans should stop pretending they give a shit about vets.
Today is the 61st celebration of Veterans Day in America, when we celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans. Originally proclaimed Armistice Day by Woodrow Wilson in 1919 to commemorate the end of the first World War and to honor all who served in that war, it was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor veterans of all wars.
However, in recent years, this holiday has become the ONLY form of gratitude that our veterans can count on as the GOP has spent the last decade chipping away at the benefits and support afforded to our veterans when they return from deployment, while paying lip service to their struggles and heroism.
So today, as members of the GOP stand behind podiums giving speeches in their home districts about the need for more funding to pay military contractors and to give missiles to Israel as part of their plan to continue the growth of “American exceptionalism,” please remember these instances of “gratitude” the GOP showed to our veterans by placing partisan politics above caring for our veterans.
1. Veterans Affairs Funding Bill (2015)
The House Appropriations Subcommittee, met with VA Secretary Bob McDonald to remove more than $1.4 billion in veteran services from President Obama’s proposed 2016 budget. Included in those cuts was more than $690 million earmarked for direct VA medical care and $582 million in VA construction projects. As a result of the cuts, it was estimated that 70,000 fewer veterans would be able to receive needed care.
2. Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act (2014)
This bipartisan bill would have provided fertility treatment and counseling for severely wounded veterans and their spouses. However, the bill was killed before making it out of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee after Republicans proposed an amendment to prevent any involvement with Planned Parenthood.
The author of the bill, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), took to the floor of the Senate and made the following statement:
“Don’t take something that should be above politics, our sacred duty to our veterans, pull it down into the muck of petty politics. It is not fair to veterans and their families who have been hoping and praying for the opportunity to have children.”
3. Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act (2014)
This bill, proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders, was a piece of sweeping legislation that would have expanded healthcare and education for veterans. After clearing a procedural vote by a 99-0 margin, the bill was hijacked by Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans who attached an amendment to the bill which would have levied sanctions on Iran.
While arguing over the proposed amendments, other Republicans took to the floor to raise concerns over the cost of the bill, and it was ultimately defeated with 41 of 45 Senate Republicans voting against the bill.
4. Veterans Jobs Corps Act (2012)
Originally submitted by democratic Representative Bruce Braley of Iowa, this bill would have established the Veteran’s Jobs Corps to provide gainful employment to more than 20,000 veterans through public works projects in their own communities at a cost of $1 billion over 5 years.
Ultimately, Senate Republicans blocked the bill because it was unpaid for… while simultaneously proposing a bill to increase military spending with no way to pay for it.
“We Republicans remain resolute in our commitment to deny the Democrats anything that looks like an accomplishment in an election year,” said Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
5. Homeless Women Veterans and Homeless Veterans With Children Act (2010)
Originally proposed to expand assistance for homeless women veterans and homeless veterans with children, as well as increasing funding for federal grant programs to address the issues surrounding homelessness amongst veterans, this bipartisan bill made its way through the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee with strong support from members of both parties.
However, the bill was promptly killed as Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, on behalf of Senator Tom Coburn, objected based on the cost of the program.
“If we don’t start paying for new programs and continue on our path to bankruptcy we’ll have a homelessness problem beyond imagination,” Coburn spokesman John Hart told HuffPost. “The old Washington excuse that it’s too hard to cut spending is undermining our troops, our veterans and our future.”