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2003-04-01

Democrats Accuse House Republicans of Slashing $15 Billion in Veterans Benefits in Favor of Tax Cuts for the Rich. We Will Have a Debate On the New Budget

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The vote got little attention. The date was March 20, the invasion of Iraq had just begun. So you might have missed what happened that day in Congress.

On a near strict party line, the House of Representatives passed a draft budget for next year. Contained in it are $1.4 trillion in tax cuts. And it has caused a quiet storm of controversy especially among veterans groups which charge the Republican leadership is cutting the Veterans Affair budget by $15 billion.

On the floor of Congress, Democrat Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts said:

“Last night, President Bush officially created a whole new group of 250,000 war veterans, yet he does not even have enough money in his budget to take care of this country’s obligations to veterans of the first Persian Gulf War, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, or World War II.

“Never before has a President cut taxes in the face of war. According to The New York Times, the Civil War gave birth to an estate tax and World War II expanded the income tax. But during the war in Iraq the Bush administration plans to cut taxes by a total of nearly $2 trillion over the next 10 years.

"This tax cut for the rich is a fiscal MOAB [Mother of All Bombs], pointed right at the heart of the Federal budget."

Meanwhile the House Republican leadership countered that Veterans Affairs will not see a budget cut but an increase of $4 billion next year.

  • Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ).
  • Susan Edgerton, Democratic Staff Director of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
  • Ashley Decker, sophomore at University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Ashley wrote an article published last Friday at Commondreams.org called "Support the Warrior Not the War: Give Them Their Benefits," Her dad, a Vietnam veteran is 100% disabled.

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