Veterans’ Group Puts House GOP On Notice For Election Challenges After Betrayal

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A lot of observers are, quite simply, furious at House Republicans for approving a debt ceiling and spending plan this week that would, if implemented, entail what would apparently be major cuts to funding for veterans’ support, including healthcare. VoteVets promised electoral action.

Republicans are after overall spending cuts for future expenditures, and with an ambition to force a category known as discretionary spending down to 2022 levels while maintaining funds for defense, that has to come from somewhere. Numbers originating in part with the White House estimate 22 percent cuts to federal teams and programs should Republicans get their way. While at present, Democrats control the Senate and White House, making enacting this sweeping agenda unlikely at the very best, the major points included in the leadership-promoted plan represent some of the threats that could come with any expanded GOP control after the next elections. In the meantime, action on the debt ceiling remains critical to help government authorities deal with spending to which they’ve already agreed. Democrats want it done without accompanying ambitions attached.

The threatened impacts to vets mirror temporary obstruction from Republicans to protections eventually passed for veterans exposed to toxic substances via what are known as burn pits. There were evidently theoretical worries about future spending made possible in part due to the categorization of the funds for these additional protections — something imagined in the future but used as an excuse to delay veterans’ healthcare support. (A leader of the delay, then-Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, is no longer in office. Democrat John Fetterman replaced him.) “Cutting funding by 22 percent would mean 30 million fewer veteran outpatient visits, and 81,000 jobs lost across the Veterans Health Administration—leaving veterans unable to get appointments for care including wellness visits, cancer screenings, mental health services, and substance use disorder treatment,” the White House recently said.

“217 Republicans just voted to cut Veterans care,” VoteVets, a liberal advocacy organization representing veterans’ causes, said on Twitter. “2024 is coming. We will NEVER let you forget this!” In another post, the organization added Wednesday: “A lot of vulnerable Republicans voted for this bill to decimate Veterans’ care, and [renege] on our sacred promise to those who served. And we’ll make sure voters in their district hear a lot about it in 2024.”