Thursday, March 16, 2006

More on Defeated Bill to Fund Veterans Medical Services

I told you yesterday about how the Republican Senate killed a measure by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) that would have provided $1.5 billion in addition funding for Veterans medical services in fiscal year 2007. The bill was defeated on a party line vote of 46-54 with only Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) siding with the Democrats on providing help for those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“While President Bush has proposed draconian budget cuts and fee hikes that would force hundreds of thousands of veterans off of crucial VA programs, [Senate] Democrats proposed dramatic increases in assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans returning home, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other combat-related mental health issues,” the Democratic National Committee (DNC) said in a statement.

According to the DNC, the amendment would have:
  • Provided $231 million in assistance to help Iraq war Veterans make the transition home
  • Increased Support for PTSD and Mental-health care by providing an additional $321 million
  • Expanded Veteran Support Clinics by providing $81 million to expand Vet centers around the country to provide daily support and assistance to Veterans
  • Eliminated new fees and copayments by providing $825 million to roll back a Bush Administration plan to raise fees and co-payments on veterans who seek VA health care
  • Provided $42 million to expand residential rehabilitation services for Veterans
"The Republican assault on veterans health care continues," said DNC spokesman Damien LaVera. "The brave men and women who put their lives on the line defending America should not have to fight Republican budget cuts that undermine their economic security when their service is done."

That’s the strange dynamic in Washington these days… While Republicans run around beating their chests and yelling “support the troops,” Democrats actually go about the business of providing that support.

The question of the day: Are military families well-informed enough to understand this when they go to vote in November?