A proposal to cut $4.5 billion from Veterans Affairs Department health programs to reduce government spending has earned a quick, sharp rebuke from major veterans groups.
Proposed by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., the freeze in veterans health care funding — along with a cut in disability compensation for veterans also receiving Social Security disability benefits — are part of a $400 billion package of spending cuts that the tea party leader says could be enacted to avoid increasing the $14.3 trillion cap on government borrowing.
Disabled American Veterans called Bachmann’s ideas “ill-advised,” “nothing short of heartless” and “wrong-headed.”
Veterans of Foreign Wars said she was “totally out of step with America’s commitment to our veterans.”
Veterans for Common Sense said they were “outraged” that her proposal “would leave veterans twisting in the wind.”
“It is unconscionable that while our nation is at war, someone would even think of forcing our wounded warriors to sacrifice even more than they already have,” said David Gorman of the DAV. “Their injuries and disabilities were the result of their service to the nation, and our nation must not shirk its responsibilities toward them. How do you tell a veteran who has lost a limb that he or she has not sacrificed enough? Yet Rep. Bachmann wants to do just that.”
Bachmann’s proposal would result in a reduction of up to $2,224 a month in veterans’ disability compensation for a veteran who also receives Social Security Disability Income, known as SSDI. Additionally, it would freeze veterans’ health care funding at current levels.
Richard Eubank, VFW national commander, said his organization will work to stop the proposal. “No way, no how, will we let this proposal get any traction in Congress,” he said.
“There are certain things you do not do when our nation is at war, and at the top of that list is not caring for our wounded and disabled servicemen and women when they return home,” Eubank said. “The day this nation can’t afford to take care of her veterans is the day this nation should quit creating them.”
Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, who first spotted the proposal on Bachmann’s official congressional website, said 10,000 new veterans a month are seeking treatment from VA.
“In the middle of this dramatically increasing need at VA to care for our veterans, comes Rep. Michele Bachmann,” he said, calling her efforts to cut veterans funding just as combat operations appear to be winding down in Iraq is similar to cuts after the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War that left VA struggling to care for veterans.
DAV’s Gorman said capping veterans’ health care funding “will not only freeze out sick and disabled veterans seeking care, it will also end up costing the federal government even more money.”
“With the number of veterans seeking health care rising, the effect of a freeze would be to either block enrollment of veterans, many of them just returning from battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, or to ration care to currently enrolled veterans, including disabled veterans who have relied on VA dating back to World War II,” Gorman said.
The Obama administration is prepared to cut federal spending, but not like this, said White House spokesman Shin Inouye.
“While we need to make tough choices across the federal government to get our deficits under control to be competitive in the global economy, we should do so in a way that upholds the sacred trust our nation has with its veterans, troops and military families,” Inouye said.
I will never understand why Michelle Bachmann made the statement she did. She just struck fear in the heart of every mother who is up at Walter Reed holding her Heroes hand and hoping with all her heart that she can at least count on the Conservatives in this country to help her help her Brave Warrior. WHY??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You want to cut spending, get the illegals out of this country!!! You want to cut spending, quit funding the education of the children of illegals!!!!! What have they ever done for this country?!!!! Quit dishing out welfare and food stamps for people that aren't looking for work!
Our Soldiers and our Veterans deserve every little bit of the beneifts they get! They never played politics with our lives, they selflessly answered the call of service to the country they love. Shame on Ms. Bachmann.
The Band of Mothers
The irony in all of this is that everyone is for spending cuts so long as we don't lose ours... As a lifetime DAV member I support Rep. Michele Bachmann in her attempt to bring federal spending under control. She is not proposing a permanent freeze and since we claim to be independent and support each other in our needs perhaps it is time to stop complaining and start doing more to help each other. I served with a lot of good men, some came home in one piece, some did'nt. And some never made it home at all. But all of us watched out for each other and we are still the same men.
THANK'S BROTHER YOU SAD IT ALL!!!!!!!!! had 18.5 yrs in put out with 10% but i am 100% has taken me from 1989 till now to get 40% But when gave 110% all the time. I dont want a free ride just what i am do.
I can tell you where the ,money cuts need to come from. A goodly number of our politicians vote themselves a payraise every chance they get. Every Senator and Congressman has life long medical care AND a fat retirement check. They should get a salary when in office and that's it. Most of them have already held jobs previously to serving in Congress, lawyers, etc. so why do they need yet another pension? Pelosi spent millions on supersizing her jet and her staff. Michelle Obama has quadrupled her staff and takes vacations in France and then complains to the French that she HATES the White House. Why are we paying for HER vacations? Isn't it enough we pay for HIS multiple vacations?
They are more than happy to cut VA Medical programs. They can cut Military Retirement Programs. But very few, and I'll give a nod to Sarah Palin, who cut their spending. I say start at the top, the very people who send us to war, and work your way down like they do in military downsizing.
And yes, I am a Disabled Vet who served in Desert Storm. But I also went to work when I got out and earned a second retirement. Its not much because I had to retire from it due to my DS problems but I at least could work for a little while.
I think the politicos should put their money where their mouth is and give up all the perks and advantages that they have inherited from previous politicians.
Every time I go to BAMC I see the violence this nations wars have done to our brave warriors. Young men and women with no legs from IEDs, people horribly burned, features mangled by bullets and others with less obvious but no less vicious injuries. They don't need their medical services cut. The people up on the hill and the hangers on, they need their money cut and with a damned sharp knife.
God bless our Brave Warriors.
To be able to get this country back on a fiscally responsible path there are going to have to be cuts and I mean cuts to the bone.
One thing that could be done is to start with the illegal aliens and then progress up to the welfare crowd and continue up the entitlement ladder until we get to the balance needed to bring this government to a balanced budget.
This country is headed to hell in a hand basket and none of the politicians are willing to do what is right because of their job and entitlements, and we have let them get too this point.Now it is our responsibility to make these things wright.
Right on Darrell. In Texas we have to push one to GET to English. I don't mind immigrants with the proper documentation. I want to help them, but the illegals are just one more thing pulling at the hem of our country while the upper eschelon is unzipping the dress.
All good things, like the Garden of Eden" their is always a SNAKE OR TWO, Bechmann is one! ! !