Republicans "pledge" to slash veterans benefits

veterans wall

Democrats ramped up their campaign against a Republican Party takeover of Congress this week with charges that the Republicans want to eliminate some veterans benefits passed in the Democratic-controlled legislature. GOP leaders vowed in their "Pledge to America" that, if they take power, they will cut veterans' benefits because they are not "paid for."

"The Republicans would like every Democrat, every veteran, every retired military person in this country to be muted in this election. We will not be muted," Max Cleland said on a national conference call, Oct. 18, with veterans on behalf of Organizing for America, the organizing arm of the Democratic National Committee.

"My feelings on veterans benefits," Cleland continued, responding to the Republican pledge to slash them, "they're all pre-paid. Veterans gave at the office."

"It is the moral obligation of this nation to take care of them," he added. While it is impossible for any government or treasury to replace the years they have sacrificed for their country, or "compensate them for lost time, lost hopes, lost lives or lost limbs," Cleland, a paralyzed veteran of the Vietnam War, said, it is our duty to do our best to care for them.

And the Democrats have lived up to that duty, he said. Since they took the lead in Congress in 2006 and since President Obama was sworn into office, "we have seen the greatest increase in the VA budget since World War II," Cleland pointed out.

In the past 72 months of Democratic Party leadership, the VA has seen a budget increase of 45 percent.

"Democrats get it," he said. "Voters who care about these issues care enough to send Democrats to Washington to ensure the government adequately fund and care for those who have made the ultimate sacrifices."

Cleland cited large increases in counselors and mental health professionals assigned to aid veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. The VA's health care budget is at its largest in decades. He also pointed to the new GI Bill - authored and passed into law by congressional Democrats over Republican objections - which specifically addresses the needs of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to get into college and into the workforce. "The GI Bill is the best single veterans program ever devised," Cleland said.

The record shows that the Democrats and President Obama understand the needs of America's veterans, Cleland said. He urged veterans to exercise their right to vote on November 2, and to support the candidates that are going to protect veterans' benefits rather than the Republican Party, which plans to slash VA budgets.

Republican Party leaders have vowed to cut non-military federal spending, including veterans benefits, in order to pay for new tax breaks for the very rich and for corporations that move jobs overseas.

Image: Wally Gobetz // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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  • It is a sad day for this country that we treat our Vets the way we do. One wants to feel pride in our country, but it is hard to feel that pride when so many have put their lives on the line for this country did all that was asked of them and when they return home in need of our country's help we turn a deaf ear. These are the same people who claims to be Christians, but I do not see how this behavior is Christian like. These are the same people who has their 5 sons standing behind them while running to be Commander-and-Chief and not him or one of his sons ever served in the military. These are the same people who wants to go into Iran and start yet another war and then refuses to do right by our vets. There should never be a homeless vet, or a vet that can not get the medical attention he or she needs. This is a sin and a shame on our country. It is a sin and a shame that this country will send you aboard to fight in a war then have to come home and fight this country for what is owe to you. This is totally outrageous. All of us need to stand up and support our vets. I thank you all for all you have done for this country.

    Posted by Lyra Talarico, 02/24/2012 6:41pm (4 years ago)

  • I'm 100 percent disabled and like the Marine who posted below, this is an outrange and disrespect for all who have served. The time to act is now, we must stand together and call or write our senators and INSIST OUR BENIFITS NOT BE TAKEN AWAY OR REDUSED.

    Posted by PFC Daniel R. Thurber. B-CO 1/67 ARMORED Regiment ( USA Ret. ) 9, 01/24/2012 8:45am (4 years ago)

  • All Veterans weather Democrat or Republican or Independent needs to write, call or visit your congressmen and Senator and DEMAND our benifits are left intact. To reduce them in any way would be an insult and slap in face off all of us. Whatever your Disability percentage is or you want to better your life by useing the G.I. bill we must stand together. the time to act is NOW! I thank all of you for your service and GOD BLESS EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU.

    Posted by PFC Daniel R. Thurber. B-CO 1/67 ARMORED Regiment ( USA Ret. ) 9, 01/24/2012 8:37am (4 years ago)

  • I was a gunner on an M1A2 main battle tank. On December 11 1999 after the unit returned from the Blackwell tank gunnery range at Fort Hood Texas, myself along with a Corporal were ordered by the Platoon Staff Sargent to " clean " up a leak of flame resistant hydrolic fluid that a line had ruptured and sprayed the turret and sub turret floor. After being down in the turret for several hours cleaning up, it was time to repair the leak and replenish the the chemical reseivoir. In order to do this, the Corporal went out and on top of the tank. he had a medium size funnel and I had the other end wich was a hose fed into the the receptical, distracted for an unknown reason the Corporal overfilled the funnel and the next thing I new the toxic chemical was running down my sleeve onto exposed skin. The next morning at P.T. formation I collapsed from a ruptured lung and ever breath I attempted to take departed my ruptured lung and "pooled" up around my neck,shoulders ,and heart. This lead to Paricarditis wich is a severe infection of the lining of my heart. The Army retired me with Asthma, which I had no history of. Over the years I have developed Polynuropathy in my shoulders, elbows, wrist and lower back. Polynuropathy is nerve damage and I have had four surgery's with limited sucsess. I have limited mobility and spend my days with as positive an attitude as I can. My problems pale in comparison to the Veterans who have givin the ultimate sacrifice or lost a limb or ended up parralized. I have deep respect for those men. We need all the help we can get. We not only have earned it but we deserve it as alot of us volunteered for service in the combat arms branch of the military. To loose or cut our benifits would be detrimental and insulting to all of us. I URGE everyone who reads this post, wether you are democrate or republican or independent to write or visit your Congressmen or Senetor and INSIST OUR BENIFITS NOT BE CUT! We as well as our familys depend on them. The time to act is NOW. I Thank all of you for your service to our great nation and God Bless. PFC Daniel R. Thurber USA RET.

    Posted by PFC Daniel R. Thurber. B-CO 1/67 ARMORED Regiment ( USA Ret. ) 9, 01/24/2012 8:27am (4 years ago)

  • The Democrats are against veterans, especially Max.

    Posted by Jim, 09/27/2011 6:32am (4 years ago)

  • The Republicans are now eying cuts to Medicare and Social Security. They tried to hurt the vets. Next its old people, sick people and children. But hey they wear an American flag on their lapels so they must be good people right?

    Posted by mary, 01/05/2011 10:38pm (5 years ago)

  • If there is any truth to this, we will bring each Republican or Democrat Congressman to the status of a 1-term Representative.

    Posted by Vietnam Vet, 10/26/2010 10:27pm (5 years ago)

  • I am a Disabled Viet Nam Vet US Marine Corps and am getting paid for PTSD and 3 VA doctors determined that I have it! Plus I have other disablities that I am getting paid for. I didn't ask to be sent to Viet Nam but was sent there and the republicans want to take away disablity payments. Thas an outrage! I gave my body and soul to our country now the republicans want to say get lost. Some of my buddies died for what so the republicans can drive around in porches and cadilacs and fund money to their government contract buddies, it is not fair and I am telling all the vets and everyone else to vote Democrat. I go to a PTSD group and everyone there is voting for the democrats I am going to make sure of that because many of them are 100% disabled vets like my self. It is bad enough that I got spit in the face when I got back now the replicans want to do the sameting to me!

    Posted by Allan Hoppel , 10/24/2010 4:18pm (5 years ago)

  • That's a difficult pill to swallow.I despise President Obama but he has & is helping the vets more than any other president.I'm a Vietnam vet-Marine w/ 3 purples and bocu P.T.S.D. -voted all my life Repubic,I see now that I must change my vote.

    Posted by Carlo Sametini, 10/19/2010 11:39pm (5 years ago)

  • I paid for my veterans benefits with a hole in my chest, 6 broken ribs and a shattered breast bone.... I am just one of thousands who gave . Also I was lucky enough to spend my VietNam time in IIICorp, where agent orange was sprayed like bug spray...suppose to be good for ya! Ha" Ha". HCG

    Posted by Harold Graber, 10/19/2010 1:07pm (5 years ago)

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