T Nation

This is how Republicans

By voting to slash Veteran’s benefits by six billion dollars. (Meanwhile, big corporations like Halliburton will make millions on the Iraq war.)

From an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times (This was written by a Democrat, so you conservatives will probably just dismiss it…)

“At a time of war, how dare we reduce veterans’ benefits?”

April 13, 2003

BY Jan Schakowsky

Late into the night of March 20, the U.S. House heard speech after passionate speech in favor of a resolution proclaiming support for U.S. troops in Iraq, but offering them nothing substantive.

Minutes after passing that symbolic resolution, Republicans passed their budget calling for a $28 billion cut in veterans’ benefits and health care, with Republicans providing all but one vote. This huge cut was reduced on Friday to $6.2 billion, the amount originally proposed for veterans’ cuts by President Bush in his 2004 budget.

Is this good news for Illinois veterans? Not unless they want their already eroded benefits cut even further.

I find it incomprehensible that a plan to reduce benefits for veterans in Illinois and across the country would even be contemplated at a time when hundreds of thousands of active-duty soldiers are risking their lives in Iraq.

A report produced by the Government Reform Committee Democratic staff concluded that the cuts proposed by the Bush administration would cause:

‘’. . . over 65,000 Illinois veterans, including an estimated 36,000 veterans enrolled at VA facilities in the Chicago area, to be denied VA health care or to drop out of the VA system, while increasing costs for thousands more.’’

First, the Bush administration has already stopped enrolling Priority 8 veterans (those who have an income of $38,100 or more and no service-related disability), denying them access to any VA care. The report found that as a result of this proposed suspension, 173,000 veterans nationwide would be denied care, including 7,160 in Illinois, of whom 4,000 are in the Chicago area.

Second, President Bush would require the VA to charge all Priority 7 and Priority 8 veterans now in the system a $250 annual enrollment fee in order to receive service.

As a result of the fee, the VA estimates that 55 percent of enrolled Priority 7 and Priority 8 veterans would be forced to drop out of the VA system nationwide, including 32,000 veterans in the Chicago area. (Priority 7 veterans have incomes between $24,644 and $38,100 and have no service-related disability.)

Finally, a third set of provisions would increase co-payments for Priority 7 and Priority 8 veterans who do stay enrolled in the VA program.

The co-payments for primary care services would increase 33 percent, from $15 per visit to $20 per visit. The co-payments for prescription drugs would more than double, from $7 to $15 per 30-day prescription.

On average, the report concluded, veterans would have to pay an additional $97 a year in co-payments plus the new enrollment fee of $250. However, many veterans could see an increase of almost $600 a year.

I join the Disabled American Veterans in asking, ‘‘Is there is no honor left in the hallowed halls of our government that you choose to dishonor the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes and rob our programs–health care and disability compensation–to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy?’’

Democrats in Congress are now fighting the president’s proposal and are working to restore cuts in veterans’ benefits and veterans’ health care for the sake of our troops fighting in Iraq and the millions of veterans across the country. But this fight cannot be won unless veterans let the president and the Republican-controlled Congress know that they will not stand for these cuts.

Despite all the enthusiastic and well-deserved praise of our troops coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the Bush administration has failed to put its money where its mouth is.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky is a Democrat from Illinois’ 9th Congressional District.


Nice try, Lumpy. Now’s a bad time to try to tarnish the conservative image.

Can’t blame ya for tryin’, though…

Oh, yeah, one more thing.

We kicked ass. Bush is a man of his word (heard anything lately from the once-boisterous North Korea since saddam’s statue fell?).

Bush rules.

places cap back on can of gasoline and returns it to shelf

Not all of us conservatives dismiss it Lumpy. Nor do we blindly follow GW. We do, however, believe in his overall ideals.

Well, I’m a Priority 8 veteran and I’ve never relied on the VA for medical services. In 1980 I used VA dental benefits to get some work done, like all my wisdom teeth taken out and some caps put on. But that was because dental benefits continued for a year after active duty. I’ve never considered going back to the VA for any medical care.

I guess my feeling is that if you don’t have a service-related disability and you either have or can afford private insurance, then you shouldn’t be looking for a free handout from the VA for the rest of your life. Stand on your own, you pussy.

My father-in-law, however, has a Bronze Star and Purple Heart from The Korea War and lives on SS. He is, and should be, entitled to any care he needs. From what I read above that won’t change.

Good point, A.R., and I do agree with you.

In all fairness, I glanced at the beginning of the article and then at the end and did not read the entire thing. It seemed just another bitter attempt to paint conservatives as a-holes.

As a vet, I track what “the government” does to us and for us.
However, last time I checked no one party can push through a bill on it’s own.
Oh wait, here is an article blaming the other party for cutting the benefits.
Maybe I had better get off my squat enlarged ass and read the congressional record on this an see how the people I can vote for voted. After all, they had better have read my emails and letters stating my position on this issue.
By the way, Lumpy are you a vet? Does this effect you or a loved one? And if it did what did you do about it before, during or after the vote? Or are you just trying to show how evil republicans are?
Best of Luck.

Oh no, an extra $5 for a visit to the doctor. And $8 for medicine. And $250 enrolment fee, on non-disabled vets who make over a certain amount of income? Terrible.

Lumpy: You have stated this before. In the “Another viewpoint of the war” thread, I responded:

"And as far as the story about the Veteran benefits, I did a little searching, noticed a lot of biased websites were brought to the top, and switched to the news search. I couldn’t find as much information as I had hoped. But what I found seemed to be more like $15 billion. But one news story mentioned $13 billion in increased benefits. I don’t know if that was something else. Another article talked with a Republican who was against it, and discussed the GOP had decided to remove it. Another article mentioned that wealthy people would have their benefits reduced because they can more easily afford it, and yet another article mentioned the possibility of a $250 fee each year for anyone who makes over $30,000 a year.

“I am not here to defend the Republican Party. I am not a member of it. I also don’t know if it might have been put in just to cause a political negotiation. Political parties do that. Put something in that they don’t actually agree with, but use it as a negotiating tool. But I don’t know if that is what happened here. I don’t think it should have been part of the budget regardless. There are a lot of other areas that could be easily cut. I personally disagree with Bush’s major increase in spending, and expansion of the government. I have to budget my money, I don’t see why the government doesn’t do the same.”

What was your response? None, as usual. At least this time you gave us a link to a real news source, too bad it was a politically biased opinion.

Also I noticed you didn’t respond to my last message to you in the “Another viewpoint of the war” thread, and you still have not come up with a positive link about America. Your last response there highlighted your ignorance, pointing out the fact that you don’t seem to actually read responses, or you don’t seem to understand the difference between anti-American bias, and being un-American. Personally I cannot trust anything you post. I am surprised you are even here. You only seem to get your news from one hate America website. I did check it, and found the link to the article you are posting here. Do you work for this site?

And if anyone cares my wife’s medication co-pay has increased also. But it is better then the $300 we were paying each month for a year before her insurance kicked in.

Well, personally this makes me sick. A cut to benifits of those who are risking their lives in obedience of the president, who is in the meantime giving a massive contract to his old oil buddies without even having to do the same federal bidding process, skirting around those laws with their new “have to do it this way and we can’t tell you why because its classified, national security shit” excuses. And, to top it off, giving a tax break that mostly benefits his wealthy Wallstreet buddies. This is not a partisan thing… this is all pretty much common knowledge.

Come on Mage, I have read your posts… You are one of the smarter guys in here. How can you see all of this and dismiss all of this as “partisan attacks?” It is happening RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE! Surely you can see this going on. Perhaps you only argue this point just for the sake of debate, or just to get in Lumpy’s craw, but breaking it down to the brass tacks, looking at what is known, can you really see this going on and still deny that something really sleazy is going on?

“YAWN”…back to my bodybuilding nap now…


Roy, It took you a month and a half to notice this?

Do I think they should cut benefits? No I don’t. There is a lot more crap they could be cutting. But then again are they being cut? I tried searching and found only opinion articles, with no verification. One article I found (unfortunately also an opinion) states that Bush’s 2004 budget actually increases the budget for benefits by 8%.

Also this is a conservative website, so it would be biased (just like the opinion article posted by Lumpy.)

My understanding is that Bush has never cut a single cent out of any budget, and has in fact increased it substantially. I agree with tax cuts, but it is just stupid to increase spending substantially at the same time. This expansion of government is a very liberal thing to do, but then again I knew that Bush was a Liberal before the election. (And yes, to anyone who does not know, there are Liberal Republicans, and Conservative Democrats.)