Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pryce and the GOP Have Made Cuts for Vets

*A weekly newspaper here in central Ohio, The Suburban News, has had many recent letters to the editor voicing support and reservations about candidates. However, a letter written by a retired member of the U.S. Army explained how Republican Deborah Pryce (OH-15) has done more harm to our veterans. Here are some excerpts:

...She (Pryce) showed her true colors and demonstrated beyond reproof that issues affecting those who wear our nation's uniforms are secondary and a lower priority. The year 2003 is telling. Many believe Pryce put her "leadership rank" ahead of her commitment as an entrusted "representative," choosing power over service.

If you need more you only need to look at where Rep. Pryce stood when the House leadership unceremoniously dumped Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) from his position as chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee in January 2005. After four years of outstanding service as chairman and with two years remaining on his leadership position, Smith was dumped from the committee. Not only did Pryce support stripping Smith of his chairmanship, she was part of the high-ranking House leadership team that threw Smith off the committee on which he had served for more than 20 years. More than 10 veterans groups protested this acion, but to no avail.

What was Smith's sin? This expert on veterans' affairs put the legitimate needs of veterans and the uniformed military ahead of the cost-cutting, war-on-the-cheap agenda of the Hastert-DeLay-Pryce leadership team. The result was denial of billions of dollars for health care and other services for veterans, widows, and National Guard families.

Pryce's record is a dismal track of repeated refusal to co-sponsor meaningful veteran-friendly House legislation, votes against bringing bills to the floor for a vote, and slavish devoting to the Bush administration's practice of squeezing veterans programs. Only when public pressure has reached a crescendo, forcing the House to act, has Rep. Pryce supported veterans issues....

*To support the thesis that Pryce doesn't support vets, I've included excerpts from The Nation (1/11/2005):

Here's how House Republicans support the troops in a time of war: by demoting and embarrassing the leading advocate for soldiers on Capitol Hill.

The crackdown on GOP moderates continued last week as the House leadership ousted Representative Chris Smith as chairman of the Committee on Veterans Affairs for his tireless advocacy of veterans rights. Smith--like House Ethics Chairman Joel Hefley--did his job a little too well.

Smith served on the Vets Committee since arriving in Congress twenty-four years ago and became its chairman in 2001, angering the GOP top brass with his opposition to stingy VA budgets and ability to pass bills across bipartisan lines. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay--who wanted Smith punished two years ago--got his wish when House Speaker Dennis Hastert inserted GOP poodle Steve Buyer as Chairman and took the unprecedented step of throwing Smith off the Vets Committee. (Ironically, Smith is also a major figure in the anti-choice movement.)...

*The veterans organization, Veterans United, has included Deborah Pryce and 33 others as "Certified Veteran Unfriendly."

*USA Today has an article today about how troops with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) are being kicked out of the military, given less than honorable discharges, and denied medical benefits. Here is an excerpt:

...In Iraq, Marines who perform well in combat can be lauded for it. But if they develop PTSD, they can be punished for stress-related misconduct, kicked out of the military and denied treatment for their illness.

In recent months, the Marine Corps has begun investigating the matter, identifying 1,019 Marines who may fall into this group since the war in Iraq began. All served at least one year in the Marines and one tour overseas before being discharged for misconduct....

These examples show how the Republican Congress and Deborah Pryce have abandoned our troops and veterans. With the great possibility that more men and women will be suffering physical and mental problems as a result of combat, it is time that common sense and compassion rule in dealing with veterans affairs. Pryce and the GOP have failed. It is time for change.