Last Saturday, the Bee featured President Trump’s visit to Danang honoring American veterans. What stood out was Trump’s detached embrace of Vietnam vet Max Morgan from Santa Clarita. The AP reporter described it as “Trump, who at the time appeared to struggle displaying empathy….” At the time I thought that may have been unfair until I was reminded what Trump said about John McCain being no hero because “I like people who weren’t captured.”
Veterans should be honored for all wars served – just or unjust – because they sacrificed with the ideal of keeping America safe. But there are those at the top with a different agenda. History has shown that many wars have been waged for economic, personal, political and corporate gain under the pretense of national security.
Those same leaders who conjured such pretenses to send our troops into harm’s way are always front and center at Veterans events with effusive patriotic praise and gratuitous calls of “thank for your service.” These celebrations are intoxicating and have been an effective scheme to gain favor without providing substantive support.
What is the GOP’s actual track record on supporting vets aside from accolades and platitudes?
Sep 23, 2012 - Killed the Democratic Veteran’s jobs act of 2012 which funds Veterans jobs on federal lands and local police and fire departments.
Sep 28, 2012 - GOP blocks COLA on benefits for disabled Veterans and survivors.
May 16, 2012 - GOP voted against seven veterans bills by Democrats: H.R. 466 - Wounded Veteran Job Security Act became H. R. 2875., H.R. 1168 - Veterans Retraining Act, H.R. 1171 - Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization, H.R. 1172 - Requiring List on VA Website of Organizations Providing Scholarships for Veterans, H.R. 1293 -- Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act of 2009, H.R. 1803 - Veterans Business Center Act, H.R. 2352 - Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act.
Jan 29, 2011 - Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Bachmann Takes Heat From Veterans’ Group for Proposing Benefits Cuts - Fox News: Tucked into spending cut outline was $4.5 billion in cuts targeting veterans. She proposed capping increases for health care spending at the Department of Veterans Affairs and cutting disability payments.
Feb 26, 2014 - Republicans killed S. 1982, the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014 on a vote of 56-41. All Democrats and only two Republicans voted for the bill. The reason according to North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr – “With $17 trillion in debt and massive annual deficits, our country faces a fiscal crisis of unparalleled scope. Now is not the time, in any federal department, to spend money we don’t have.”
April 21, 2015 - “Last week, the [Republican] House Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the 2016 Veterans Affairs funding bill, and slashed more than $1.4 billion from the president’s [Obama] requested budget for America’s Veterans.”
Jul 24, 2017 - [Republican] House rejects $2 billion in new funding for VA’s healthcare Choice Program.
Sidebar: You may have heard the Red Flag News rumor that Obama took $2.6 billion from veterans to give to Syrian refugees. Snopes.com, factcheck.org and Veterans Today debunked this as fake. This and 24-hour Fox News cable at bases explains Republican popularity among the military.
So how do Republicans support veterans legislatively? Didn’t find much.
State, local and national displays of gratitude and recognition to our Veterans should not be diminished in any way, however Veterans would draw far greater benefits if we didn’t just lift their spirits twice a year for political capital but actually lifted their quality of life, self-reliance and self-respect.