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Dan Rackley

Dan Rackley is a US Naval veteran living in Philadelphia and a contributor to "Will They Ever Trust Us Again?"

January 29th, 2011 7:11 PM

Tea Party Representative Suggests Cutting VA Budget

My family and I intently watched the State of The Union address this past week, and I just as intently listened to the Republican response.  Following the Republican response, one of the talking heads doing the blow by blow follow up then informed us there will be a response from the Tea Party.  Their response seemed to be lackluster and lacking any real kind of substance.  The representative from the Tea Party, Michele Bachmann of Minnesota went on screen and the general mood to me was if an open mike comic was told they had to go on after the headliner so the owner of the club could sell more drinks.  But about midway through her remarks, I have to admit that I tuned out.  Mostly because after the James Fuller incident in Arizona not too long ago, I have personally decided not to listen to a thing any of these people say solely for their lack of tactfulness.  That and I had laundry to fold.

But by breakfast the next morning, I had totally forgotten the existence of this Congresswoman Bachmann.  She is not from a state that I reside in, so unless she comes with some harebrained idea that affects me or my family; I cannot honestly say she is on my radar in the slightest.  Well, looks like all that has suddenly changed.  Michele Bachmann, like most of the Tea Partiers, wants to have a balanced budget.  Hell, everyone does.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  But it seems that these folks just don’t get it.  There are some things that you can cut, and nobody will get mad.  Like the fifty thousand dollar hammer.  Then there are some things you can cut, and a few people will get mad about.  Then there is a third category.  Things that even saying that you might possibly consider cutting, and you might as well start preparing your concession speak.  Like veterans issues.

Congresswoman Bachmann posted something on her website saying that some of the cuts she would suggest are toward the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Chopping off around four and a half billion.  She wants to cap health care spending and reducing some disability compensation.  Which means the people that can’t work would then be asked to go out and do something they reasonably can’t do.  Now wait a minute, didn’t the Tea Party people oppose the Obama Health Care Law because they said it would force doctors to choose if an elderly patient would live or die?  Well Mrs. Bachmann, how about people like me, who can’t work anymore because of things that happened to us while serving our country?   You want to tell us, that instead of already waiting months on end for a doctor’s appointment that all of a sudden we will have to wait longer because the numbers don’t look right to you?  Or the people I see in the VA every time I am fortunate enough to walk in that can’t because they are missing a leg.  You want to look them in the eye and say to them the prosthetic leg they need they can’t have because it isn’t in your numbers?  This woman and everyone like her need a wakeup call.  They need to realize that the veterans of this country need to be taken care of.  We damned well deserve it.  Like I said in previous columns, we have paid a higher entry fee than just about anyone.  We shouldn’t be told sorry when it comes to medical care.

Or compensation for that matter.  If they want to cut the amount they have to spend on disability compensation; don’t propose offsetting SSDI payments by adjusting the amount of disability compensation.  There’s a real simple way of lessening the amount on that one.  Stop putting us in spots where we end up coming home disabled!  Think the next time someone suggests going to war because there’s a chance we might almost maybe have to do something.  Make sure what you are doing is right, so you don’t have to foolishly suggest that cleaning up the mess should be done on the backs of the people you sent to fight.  Don’t screw us over twice.

I’m very glad that the VFW has taken the fight to Michele Bachmann for ignorantly suggesting any cuts should be made to the VA.  I’ve got my opinions on them that are well known, but the VA needs all the help it can get.  The last thing that needs to be done, if at the very least on a morale front, is cutting one thin dime from their budget. 

Oh by the way, here is a direct quote from Michele Bachmann’s official website,

“It is imperative that America's military men and women receive the support they deserve for the sacrifices they have made.  Our members of the Armed Forces have fought to preserve the freedoms we cherish and I believe Congress must be steadfast in honoring our commitment to them.

Last year, I supported the largest increase in funding for veterans programs in the VA’s history: over $37 billion for veterans programs.  This legislation also adds more than 1,000 new claims adjusters to help ease the backlog of over 400,000 VA benefits claims. Congress must work to alleviate VA bureaucratic procedures, improve communications between the Department of Defense and the VA and strengthen the process for returning soldiers transitioning into the VA health care system.”

See, just as I thought.  More hypocritical rhetoric from your local Congressperson.  Stay Classy, Minnesota.

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