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.
Michelle just lost any respect she was earning from this ole DAV. fella sitting here at my desk. Cut congress pay checks and benefits,they have not did anything to earn them benefits .
I, and most veterans I know, support both the Tea Party goals and the Promise Keepers. Of course we do not support cutting the care of our wonded or disabled comrades but improvements in the efficiency of the VA is welcomed. Our country's survival is, and always was, dependent on the military from the Revolution to this day. We need government cost cutting in areas that offer nothing to our country and only drain our finances and resources.
"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."
I don't know the actual amount vets receive from SSDI plus veterans disability insurance or what freezing the current level of VA spending would mean for them. My first reaction was that this proposal was a slap in the face to veterans, on more reflection I would like more information about how it would actually work. I do think that VA services are the last place to cut and that the DOD can cut out plenty of wasteful spending , but - everything needs to be on the table at this point, because if we go on spending like we have been the US is going to be out of money for every single thing we provide including present levels of health care and Social Security.
We certainly should not be taking on any more expensive programs at this time llike the proposed fast rail system the the Pres. mentioned in his last speech. I can already see the cost of that little bauble ballooning out of control and big, fast empty trains running across the country. President Obama, we need to reduce spening until we get out from under our horrendous debt load.
Twana,, I'm not a veteran but members of my family are/were. One uncle received the Purple Heart
after being wounded at the Anzio Beachhead during WW11, brother-in-law was a naval officer during the Cuban Missle crisis a nephew graduated from West Point and served in Iraq while his sister graduated from the Air Force Academy.and served four years. I have always supported our troops and believe they deserve the best thie country can offer. It's just that I would like to know that our money is being used in the most efficient and careful way.
Twana, This country must survive, and part of our struggle to avoid bankruptcy includes cost-cutting measures.
The whole of DOD has many areas where money is wasted - such as therapeutic abortions! People continually
talk of health care; when in fact, it is rectifying sicknesses brought on by those who do not practice health care!
Let's look at our troops stationed all over the world, in places they should not be. Let's look at the "powers that be"
who are sending us around the globe to be "meals on wheels" and "uber-policemen." Many there be that will not
look at our strategic plans with purpose and forethought! Let's look at our troops, not those who send them off
into places known and unknown. The troops should come first, and the logistics which serve them in God-awful
places can be reduced - bring them home!
Yeah, austerity is a hard pill to swallow, but it sure beats our folding our tents and becoming subservient to any
power that comes along to take our way of life! I have a stone in my craw, too. But, I'm a big boy: I can make it
through the night, and I can help others during the day. I know there are others out there than can do so, as well!
We can help DOD make the hard choices: They must "fess up" to the commitments they have made. I, for one,
know they are wasting money in places that the average Joe knows nothing about! Just think, if Speaker Nancy
Pelosi did not use Air Force planes, the budget would have retained over a Million Dollars that she wasted!! It's
time to bring judgment into our house, as well as those nebulous agencies which contribute not a whit! Twana,
this old saw of whine, cuss, and moan is for amateurs! What we need is adult leadership!
Collection of freebies from the gubmint has become a way of life for many in this country. Slugs and vets alike. I see many vets who would be eligible for benefits who refuse to participate because of the regulations and red tape involved. Of course, the slugs don't care because they're gaming the system to start with. This entire entitlement industry needs to be reexamined. Those who have earned the help and need it should be taken care of to the best of our ability, but the ones who are playing the system need to be shaken out and discarded. Of course, veterans groups are complaining and voicing concern, because in actuality those who most deserve and need the help are not the ones getting it.