Friday, November 11, 2005

Have Veteran's Day But Keep Your Mouth Shut

While US citizens celebrate their veterans and the war in Iraq continues its bloodshed, Veterans Affairs Committee Chairperson Steve Buyer (R-Indiana) announced on Tuesday that veteran groups could no longer make legislative recommendations at joint House-Senate hearings. This, after a $1 billion shortfall in the Veteran Affairs Department for 2005 leads many veterans to believe their opinion is being trimmed out of Congress.

Dennis Cullinan, director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), was understandably appalled:
We think it's an absolutely abhorrent idea. These things were initiated somewhere around 1950, and they represent a crowning moment for our grassroots membership.
This is very convenient as the $700 million difference between the House and Senate appropriations is currently under intense scrutiny by veteran lobbyists. Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) warns this will undermine the extra $1.5 billion added to the Senate version of the bill:
Veterans had a victory in July, but that victory is about to be snatched away because no one is watching. The Senate allocation is the number that should be sent to President Bush for his signature. Every dollar below that Senate level is a dollar taken away from a veteran.
Whether you agree or disagree with the government policies that lead us to war, our veterans deserve to be treated well. Not only should their voice be heard, but they shouldn't have to speak up again. They already proved through their actions their devotion to our country. Now it is our turn to show our appreciation back.

Email your representatives and let them know how you feel about this (House | Senate).


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