Last week some griping GIs in Falluja told my friend ABC News correspondent Jeffrey Kofman that they were upset about having had their homecoming twice delayed. This got them in very big trouble (and it’s true, a soldier should not go on air calling for the resignation of the Secretary of Defense), and moved the White House to be sure the world knew that Jeffrey is both openly gay and . . . whisper this . . . Canadian.
But when the soldiers do get back from Iraq, here (thanks to career Democrat Dave Sirota for compiling this) is what they will find the Bush Administration is proposing to do for them:
MASSIVE CUTS TO MILITARY FAMILY HOUSING: Bush’s 2004 budget proposes $1.5 billion in cuts to military family housing. Last year, the government spent $10.7 billion on these priorities, while this year the 2004 Bush budget and GOP bill proposes just under $9.2 billion. This cut affects military housing, barracks, child care centers, schools, hangars and office buildings. House Democrats offered an amendment to reduce the proposed tax cuts to millionaires by $5,000 (they would get $83,000 instead of $88,000) in order to restore $1 billion of these cuts. House Republicans voted it down. [Source]
MASSIVE CUTS TO SCHOOLS FOR MILITARY KIDS: President Bush’s 2004 budget proposes to cut $200 million out of Impact Aid – the program that funds schools near military bases. Total funds for the military portion of the program would drop from about $635 million in the current year to about $435 million next year-a cut of more than 30 percent. [Source]
REDUCING PAY TO SOLDIERS IN HARMS WAY: According to the Army Times, ‘the administration announced that on Oct. 1 it wants to roll back recent modest increases in monthly imminent-danger pay (from $225 to $150) and family-separation allowance (from $250 to $100) for troops getting shot at in combat zones.’
IGNORING TAX RELIEF FOR SOLDIERS: According to the Washington Post, ‘Bush’s signature on the latest tax cut, which failed to extend a child tax credit to nearly 200,000 low-income military personnel.’ [Source]
RAISING PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES FOR VETERANS: The House GOP this week passed a White House proposal to charging some veterans enrollment fees of $250 a year and double the amount they now pay for prescription drugs. [Source]
OPPOSING LEGISLATION TO MAKE SURE RESERVISTS HAVE HEALTH CARE: ‘Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sent a letter to House and Senate leaders stating the Bush Administration’s opposition to the TRICARE legislation’ sponsored by Senator Tom Daschle that would prevent thousands of National Guard reservists from potentially being cut off health insurance 30 days after they are deactivated. The legislation is strongly supported by the National Guard Association, Adjutants General Association, Enlisted Association of the National Guard [Source, Source]
UNDERFUNDING VETERANS MEDICAL CARE: According to a letter sent to the President by the major veterans groups, Bush’s 2003 budget ‘falls $1.5 billion short’ of adequately funding veterans care. [Independent Budget, 1/7/02].
CUTTING VETERANS OFF MEDICAL CARE: According to the VA Center in Palo Alto, CA, ‘On January 17, 2003, Secretary Principi announced VA was suspending enrollment for new Priority Group 8 veterans …VA has been unable to provide all enrolled veterans with timely access to health care services because of the tremendous growth in the number of veterans seeking VA health care…It is estimated this decision will affect approximately 164,000 veterans nationally for the remainder of this fiscal year.” [Source]
All this may seem callous, but, hey – how else to afford massive tax cuts for guys making $86 million a year?
“If this is class warfare, then my class is winning.”
– Warren Buffett
“Even when conservatives have all the marbles, they still act as if they’re under siege. Now that they are under siege, it is no time for them to act as if they’re losing their marbles.” – Maureen Dowd, on the attempt to discredit ABC’s Jeffrey Kofman