For decades Republicans have claimed to be big supporters of the military.  They certainly support the military industrial complex because they have consistently been the party of big business, carrying water for wealthy defense CEOs and plutocrats.  They even vote to build weapon systems that the military doesn’t need or want just to keep money flowing to defense industry jobs, especially in their states or districts. But do they actually support veterans?  A recent book by Lindsey Cormack of the Stevens Institute of Technology argues that when it comes to veterans, the words and deeds of Republicans are usually opposed to each other.  She backs her conclusion with evidence and data, stating:

“The contours of modern conservative ideology as manifested within the Republican Party are more at odds with how veterans policies are implemented in the US than liberal, democratic ideologies,” Cormack says. “Republicans tend to talk more about veterans in constituent communications, but they are less apt to author legislation in the area.”

Here’s a link to a press release for the book and summary:

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-11/siot-t111518.php

We can see this same pattern over the course of Trump’s presidency.  Trump claims to care about veterans but his budget proposals consistently seek to harm veterans.

The Trump administration’s first budget wanted to cut job training programs that would have removed employment services for 340,000 veterans.

The Trump administration’s annual budgets consistently aim to reduce SNAP benefits even though 1.4 million veterans live in households that receive SNAP benefits.

The Trump administration’s annual budgets consistently seek to reduce TANF and child nutrition programs that would hurt many low-income veterans.

Trump’s attacks on the ACA have a huge potential impact on veteran’s health.  The number of uninsured veterans decreased by a whopping 40% under the ACA, mostly through the expansion of Medicare.  If the Trump administration is able to destroy the ACA it will disproportionately harm veterans.

And the Trump administration has suspended its enforcement by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) of the Military Lending Act (MLA) which leaves veterans more vulnerable to predatory lending practices by payday lenders and financial institutions.  Here’s an article in New York Magazine detailing the Trump administration’s attack on veteran’s financial security.  It’s important to keep in mind that veterans are one of the most vulnerable groups in our nation, as the article details:

…veterans are both largely working-class and disproportionately likely to rely on public programs and public-interest regulations for their well-being. Vets get their health care from the single most socialized segment of America’s health-care sector — and most of their advocacy organizations want to keep it that way. Meanwhile, veterans’ acute vulnerability to predatory lenders has abetted the passage of bipartisan legislation strengthening federal regulations on the finance industry. Which is to say that on a number of economic issues, Democrats are the ones holding the “support our troops” card.

Link to the article:

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/08/president-trump-cfpb-military-lending-act-veterans-mulvaney-attack-va.html

Meanwhile, in our district, Congressman Delgado has been fighting for veterans on several fronts.  He co-sponsored a bill entitled the “Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act” that helps the surviving spouses of veterans who run small businesses.  And he voted for the Raise The Wage Act to raise the federal minimum wage over six years to $15, which would greatly help around 1.3 million veterans (roughly 20% of total veterans) who earn an hourly wage–though Republicans predictably don’t support this worker-friendly bill.  Delgado is also endeavoring to help veterans become farmers, especially in the fast-growing organic farming sector, which fits into the vital agricultural component of our NY-19 district.

Veterans deserve our care and support.  Many put their lives on the line in service of our nation.  When a political party claims to support them but consistently votes to hurt them, it’s a sad and shameful betrayal.  We can’t let the Republicans continue to get away with pretending they care about veterans.  Their dismal record of dismantling protections for veterans has to be highlighted and reinforced, especially in the 2020 presidential election.

Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

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