Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ryan-Murray Budget Deal and the American Soldier

The budget bill negotiated between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate is a complete and utter disgrace.  Perhaps the worst aspect of the “bi-partisan” budget deal is the cuts made to the benefits owed to disabled veterans.  Most troubling is the knowledge that politicians could have avoided these cuts.  Indeed, both at the House and Senate levels, there were opportunities to improve the budget deal but politicians opted for a plan that ultimately hurts our nation’s disabled veterans.

Earlier this week, Matthew Boyle reported in Breitbart News “An original talking point in the document claimed the plan’s cuts to military pensions for wounded warriors, or service members who retired as a result of disability or injury, would not be affected.”  Curiously, the final version of the budget deal that passed the House did not exempt disabled veterans as pointed out by the Free Beacon.  Notably, before the bill even reached the Senate, House members could have ensured that disabled veterans – many disabled while serving our nation - would not suffer but have an exemption from the budgetary cuts.  Yet, the bill passed the Republican controlled House by a vote of 332-94.  Precisely how many members of the House knew about the change from the original draft to the final version of the bill remains an unanswered question.

In the Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), offered an amendment to secure benefits for veterans before the voting process.  The amendment proposed to cut the “tax welfare loophole for illegal filers” who receive IRS payments through the Additional Child Tax Credit instead of cutting the benefits of disabled veterans.  Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-Nev.), quickly blocked the proposed amendment.  Instead, members of the Senate, including nine Republicans, voted in favor of the Ryan-Murray deal.  These nine Senate Republicans include:  Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Rob Portman (R-OH).  The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 64-36

Those blaming Democrats for the passage of this atrocious bill are looking at only part of the problem.  Lest we forget, Ryan’s pen brought this bill to life.  Murray negotiated and the Democrats supported the bill but as did the Republicans – both in the House and in the Senate.  The thought that politicians from both parties voted in favor of supporting privileges for illegal aliens over supporting the rights of disabled American taxpaying veterans offers a fantastic insight to our current political dilemma in the nation.  

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