support the troops, gop-style
From the Gannett News Service: GOP plan trims vets' benefits to fund tax cut
With hundreds of thousands of American troops poised for combat in Iraq, veterans groups are criticizing a budget plan expected on the House floor this week that would slash Veterans Affairs money by $15 billion in the next decade to help make room for President Bush's proposed tax cuts.
"Cutting already underfunded veterans' programs to offset the costs of tax cuts is indefensible and callous," said Edward R. Heath, national commander of the Disabled American Veterans. "It is unconscionable to cut benefits and services for disabled veterans at a time when we have thousands of our service members in harm's way."
The Republican plan, which the House Budget Committee adopted last week on a party-line vote, would chop $467 billion - 1 percent - from mandatory spending programs including the Veterans Affairs Department, Medicare and Medicaid in the next 10 years to offset $1.5 trillion in tax cuts the president proposes in the same period. The proposal also contains major increases in spending for defense programs and homeland security while achieving a balanced federal budget by 2010.
The VA cuts would take place in disability compensation, education benefits, pensions and health care, according to veterans advocacy groups.