Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Shocker: Senate Republicans Screw Veterans Again

In case you missed it in the Senate yesterday, Daniel Akaka (D-HI) proposed a bill to increase Veterans medical services funding by $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2007 and Republicans shot it down with extreme prejudice.

The kiss of death for America’s Veterans was the fact that the additional funding was to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes, which ensured that the GOP-dominated Senate would take care of its corporate donors before worrying about those who truly serve our nation.

The 46-54 vote was entirely down party lines, with all Democrats voting for the Veterans medical care funding and every Republican but Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) voting against it.

"What is again missing -- in dollars and in deed -- is that this Administration still does not count caring for veterans as part of the cost of war,” said Akaka, before the vote was taken. “Defense spending for our service members while in combat has necessarily gone up. Accordingly, so must our commitment to caring for veterans once they return home."

Akaka, the ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, called the Bush administration on letting its misleading estimates of how well the Iraq war is going, interfere with the reality of what is needed for Veterans funding.

"We are all too familiar with the scenario last year. The VA wildly underestimated the number of younger vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Akaka. “And this year, the Administration thinks even fewer vets will come for care. This is a terrific gamble, as this miscalculation was one of the primary causes of last year's shortfall.”

And given the chance to mitigate that shortfall, Senate Republicans voted overwhelming to once again say “screw you” out of one side of their mouths, to the same military they praise out of the other side.

Perhaps they're at least honest about it and the yellow ribbons on the SUVs of Republican Senators say "Support Your Corporate Donors."