Politicians pounce on Memorial Day and book speeches to show off their dedication to and admiration of our troops, both those who have died and those who are currently serving.
I wish they would shut the hell up.
This country does not cherish our living troops, stationed here or abroad, or deployed into combat, and the families who sacrifice with them, as much as the speeches want us to believe it does.
The highest honor we can give our fallen troops is not limited to the military funeral – taps, folded flag, or the colors, etc. It isn’t any medal. It is something we can do now in memorial to those who gave their lives in service to our country, and are no longer with us. We can pay our living servicemen and women and their families what they deserve.
Note the veterans’ bills that have been voted down in Congress:
- Veterans Affairs Funding Bill (2015)
The House Appropriations Subcommittee met with VA Secretary Bob McDonald to remove more than $1.4 billion in veteran services from President Obama’s proposed 2016 budget. Included in those cuts was more than $690 million earmarked for direct VA medical care and $582 million in VA construction projects. As a result of the cuts, it was estimated that 70,000 fewer veterans would be able to receive needed care.
- Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act (2014)
This bipartisan bill would have provided fertility treatment and counseling for severely wounded veterans and their spouses. However, the bill was killed before making it out of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee after Republicans proposed an amendment to prevent any involvement with Planned Parenthood.
The author of the bill, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), took to the floor of the Senate and made the following statement:
“Don’t take something that should be above politics, our sacred duty to our veterans, pull it down into the muck of petty politics. It is not fair to veterans and their families who have been hoping and praying for the opportunity to have children.”
- Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act (2014)
This bill, proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders, was a piece of sweeping legislation that would have expanded healthcare and education for veterans. After clearing a procedural vote by a 99-0 margin, the bill was hijacked by Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans who attached an amendment to the bill which would have levied sanctions on Iran.
It was ultimately defeated with 41 of 45 Senate Republicans voting against the bill.
- Veterans Jobs Corps Act (2012)
Originally submitted by democratic Representative Bruce Braley of Iowa, this bill would have established the Veteran’s Jobs Corps to provide gainful employment to more than 20,000 veterans through public works projects in their own communities at a cost of $1 billion over 5 years.
The Senate Republicans blocked the bill because it was unpaid for… while simultaneously proposing a bill to increase military spending with no way to pay for it.
“We Republicans remain resolute in our commitment to deny the Democrats anything that looks like an accomplishment in an election year,” said Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
- Homeless Women Veterans and Homeless Veterans With Children Act (2010)
Originally proposed to expand assistance for homeless women veterans and homeless veterans with children, as well as increasing funding for federal grant programs to address the issues surrounding homelessness amongst veterans, this bipartisan bill made its way through the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee with strong support from members of both parties.
However, the bill was promptly killed as Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, on behalf of Senator Tom Coburn, objected based on the cost of the program.
On this Memorial Day 2016, I wish Congressmen and women would act like the patriots they purport to be, and truly serve this country and our troops. I wish politicians would put their money where their supposed dedication is. Until they do, I wish they would shut the hell up.