An informative blog was written over at Daily Kos by War on Error about bills the GOP has voted against to support veterans. Personally, I’m not counting because there is a distinct pattern to the GOP track record when it comes to supporting veterans; it doesn’t take much to figure it out –their policy largely is not in the best interest of veterans.
From the Daily Kos:
1. H.R. 466 — Wounded Veteran Job Security Act
This bill would actually provide job security for veterans who are receiving medical treatment for injuries suffered while fighting in defense of their country. It would prohibit employers from terminating employees who miss work while receiving treatment for a service-related disability.
2. H.R. 1168 — Veterans Retraining Act
This bill would provide for assistance to help veterans who are currently unemployed with their expenses while retraining for the current job market.
3. H.R. 1171 — Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization
This bill would reauthorize programs in support of homeless veterans, to assist them with job training, counseling, and placement services through the Department of Veterans Affairs through 2014.
4. H.R. 1172 — Requiring List on VA Website of Organizations Providing Scholarships for Veterans
Does nothing more than direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to include information about scholarships for veterans.
5. H.R. 1293 — Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act of 2009
Here’s another bill in support of those who have fought for their country, passed by House Democrats and blocked from becoming law by Republicans.
This would increase the amount paid by the VA to disabled veterans for necessary home structural improvements from $4,100 to $6,800 for those who are more than 50% disabled, and from $1,200 to $2,000 who are less than 50%, disabled. This means, if a veteran lost the use of his legs in service of his country, the country will pay for the wheelchair ramp so that he can live at home.
By the way, the last time this ceiling was lifted was in 1992. There isn’t even a fiscal reason for being against this bill, as the total cost of this bill, according to CBO estimates, would be a whopping $20 million. That’s about a quarter (25 cents) per family of four.
6. H.R. 1803 — Veterans Business Center Act
This bill would set up a Veterans Business Center program within the Small Business Administration, which would specialize in such programs as grants for service-disabled veterans, help them develop business plans and secure business opportunities. In other words, folks, it would create jobs and offer opportunities those who have fought in defense of our country.
7. H.R. 2352 — Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act
This bill essentially combines a number of other bills that Republicans had blocked in the Senate previously, and adds a few elements. The bill would again establish a Veterans Business Center Program; …. it would establish a Military Entrepreneurs Program
However, absent from the list is HR 3474, the Hire More Heroes Act of 2014. On its face, the bill sounds ambitious enough. The sad reality is this bill is sponsored by the Koch Brothers, which should tell you enough. The gist of the bill is to “Amend(s) the Internal Revenue Code to permit an employer, for purposes of determining whether such employer is an applicable large employer and thus required to provide health care coverage to its employees under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), to exclude employees who have coverage under a health care program administered by the Department of Defense (DOD), including TRICARE, or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).”
In other words, if you are a veteran with health care you earned from your military service, large employers would not have to provide you with health care. Why is that important? The answer is, not all veterans health care included dental, or optical for instance. The veterans may have other health concerns or a family and they may need additional options to have adequate health care.
The latest action was this bill passed the Senate in March of this year. So, why the deceptive title for the bill?
When we know better, we do better. Knowledge is truly power. This list of bills is useful because it tells you the names of the bills and what they are about. This is important because you can be a grassroots activist by meeting with your elected officials to have meaningful conversations about their veterans’ platform. It’s shameful but something as small as one conversation will affect policy decisions for elected officials. Not only that, when you hear rhetoric, you can intelligently challenge them with facts. You can also share the information with those around you.
You can have your own views, but not your own facts.