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The GOP Loves Veterans…As Political Props
There’s nothing a Republican politician loves more than a good photo-op with veterans. Flag lapel pin polished to a shine, perfect smile, arm slung around a vet, or shaking their hands – maybe even a wounded one, if the politician is really lucky!
“We love our vets!” the Republicans say. “Let’s take care of our vets!”
And all of those folks who vote Republican? Why, they love the vets, too. Just look at all the super-patriotic memes they post on social media during Veterans’ Day, and all the reminders they like to post about how Memorial Day isn’t just for barbecuing, and all their bumper stickers, too.
But here’s the truth. The GOP does not love our vets. And you cannot claim to love our vets and vote Republican after you read this. You can do one or the other, but not both. Because when it comes to supporting our vets, to providing actual support instead of just empty lip service while taking advantage of a photo-op, the GOP fails miserably. Spectacularly.
Let’s take a look, starting with H.R. 466.
GOP Won’t Put Their Money Where Their Big Mouths Are
H.R. 466, which was the Wounded Veteran Job Security Act was a bill designed to provide job security for vets receiving medical treatment for injuries sustained while serving our country. Employers would be forbidden from firing veteran employees who miss work due to treatment related to a service-related disability. The bill had 24 co-sponsors, 23 of which were Democrats.
Sounds great, right?
Blocked by the GOP.
Then there was H.R. 1168, the Veterans Retraining Act. This bill was designed to provide financial assistance to unemployed vets while they retrain for the current job market. But, unfortunately, Republicans decided to not pass it. Sorry, vets, but be sure to stop by for a photo op where they can shake your hand and thank you for your service!
Oh, and that whole “homeless veteran” crisis that the GOP laments about? Yes, it’s a heartbreaking reality, because veterans come home and do not get the support that they were promised when they signed up. And so H.R. 1171, otherwise known as the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization
was written. It passed the House, because hey, helping homeless veterans is generally a good thing. Unless you are a Republican in the Senate. Because this bill has been sitting there, probably under a growing pile of “Why I Hate Obama” lists on Mitch McConnell’s desk while he takes another vacation, since 5/09/2015.
Oh, Some More Veterans Bills? No, Thanks
Heck, Republicans couldn’t even let H.R. 1172, which simply asked the Veterans’ Affairs website to provide a list of organizations that give scholarships to veterans, pass.
GOP: What? A helpful website for veterans? Nope. No way. Huh-uh. Moving on.
Then there was H.R. 1293, the Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act that was passed by House Democrats but found to be offensive to Republicans. The bill would have increased the amount paid by the VA to disabled vets for structural improvements and accommodations necessary from $4,100 to $6,800 for those who are more than 50% disabled, and from $1,200 to $2,000 for those who are less than 50% disabled. Crazy Democrats just had this idea that if a veteran loses his sight, or his legs, in service to his our her country, in turn, his or her country could pay for the changes needed to make that veteran’s home accessible and accommodating to that disability.
It would have cost the average family of four an estimated quarter – as in, $0.25 – to make this increase, which hasn’t been raised since 1992.
But the GOP held their ground and said no, absolutely not! Yes, they will boldly and bravely use magical math in order to try and justify their tax cuts for the wealthy, but not a dime to the veterans!
I can keep going. There’s H.R. 1803, the Veterans Back To Work Act, which would do the following:
“Amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) make permanent the work opportunity tax credit for hiring qualified veterans (veterans receiving compensation for a service-connected disability and other federal assistance), and (2) allow employers who hire qualified veterans an exemption from employment and railroad retirement taxes for such veterans’ first-year wages. Appropriates amounts to the Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund to cover any revenue loss to such Funds resulting from this Act.”
It’s been sitting around since April of 2015. Thanks, Republicans!
There’s the Veterans Affair Funding Bill of 2015. Yes, remember the VA hospital disaster? Man, the GOP was really upset about that! But they didn’t talk much about how the House Appropriations Subcommittee met with VA Secretary Bob McDonald and removed more than $1.4 billion in veteran services from President Obama’s proposed 2016 budget. Those cuts included more than $690 million removed from the budget dedicated to direct VA medical care and $582 million for construction projects for the VA.
Getting Sick Yet?
They aren’t quite as loud about that part.
I can actually keep going. I don’t want to, but I can. There’s the Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2014, which would have provided fertility treatment and counseling for wounded vets and their spouses, but the pro-life party proudly shined their flag lapel pins and said no to this one, as well.
Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington), 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.”
But if the GOP can screw over vets, women and children at the same time, you can bet they’ll jump on it. Take a look at the Homeless Women Veterans And Homeless Veterans With Children Act. Meant to provide and expand assistance for female vets who are homeless, as well as homeless veterans with kids, while also trying to address the issues that create and cause the homelessness crisis in the veteran community, it was a bipartisan bill that received support from both sides of the aisle.
At Least They Are Honest – Vets Are Too Expensive!
But it made Mitch McConnell sad, as US Uncut reported. The bill was killed via McConnell, on behalf of Senator Tom Coburn – because of the cost of the program.
Hey, for Republicans, it doesn’t matter how much money it takes to start a war and create veterans – they all turn into fiscal conservatives when it comes time to take care of those veterans wars created.
I know – it’s hard to believe. And your Republican friends may have a hard time believing it, too, so here’s a video of that.
You can be a Republican and you can support veterans, but you cannot do both. It’s as simple as that.