Republicans Love Our Veterans–Except When It Comes To Paying For Their Service (VIDEO)

veterans
Image from Wikimedia Commons


President Donald Trump keeps telling us how much he loves the military.

Last January in Des Moines, Iowa, he held a “fundraiser” for veterans for which he supposedly raised $6 million. It took him nearly four months to actually get around to donating $1 million of it — and then only after a Washington Post reporter asked what happened to it.

He said he “knows more than the generals” about fighting ISIS.

He claimed former Vietnam POW Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was not a war hero because he “likes people who weren’t captured.”

He attacked the Gold Star family of U.S. Army captain Humayun Khan whom a car bomb killed in 2004 while Khan was guarding a base in Iraq. Khan’s actions saved the lives of fellow soldiers and civilians.

The veterans’ complaint hotline Trump promised to set up is yet to materialize.

All this from a man who received five draft deferments and deemed avoiding contracting a sexually transmitted disease while dating his “personal Vietnam.”

Sure, he loves the military.

Now there’s even more evidence of it: a registration tax for new GI Bill enlistees.

On April 18th, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) released the following statement:

“IAVA will vigorously oppose any and all attempts to impose a registration tax on this essential benefit. If Congress wants to find ways to raise more money, they can do it without nickel and diming newly-enlisted Privates. Pushing this GI Bill tax proposal on troops in a time of war is political cowardice. It’s also bad for recruiting and morale…When it comes to protecting our GI Bill benefits, IAVA will never compromise.” 

This is in response to a congressional proposal to obligate service members to buy into their post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander Brian Duffy, said:

“This new tax on troops is absurd. Ensuring veterans are able to successfully transition back to civilian life after military service is a cost of war, and not a fee that Congress can just pass along to our troops.”

GI Bill 3.0, is the brainchild of House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tenn). To establish eligibility requirements for revised post-military education benefits, it would deduct $2,400 from future service members’ paychecks.

The post-9/11 GI Bill currently offers full tuition to four-year state colleges or the equivalent tuition for private colleges plus a monthly housing stipend to service members with at least three years of active duty, and to reservists mobilized for active duty for extended periods. It also applies to soldiers wounded while serving.

Unlike the older Montgomery GI Bill benefit, the post-9/11 GI Bill does not require fees or pay reductions for eligibility. It has helped at least 1.5 million veterans and their families accomplish educational goals and chart new career paths. Rep. Roe’s proposal, however, would require payroll deductions from new enlistees’ paychecks for the right to access the benefit after they leave the military.

Supporters claim requiring service members to “buy in” to the benefit would strengthen the benefit against periodic attempts to reduce veterans’ education benefits.

Will Hubbard, vice president of government affairs for Student Veterans of America, said:

“It’s infinitely more difficult to get rid of or cut the GI Bill if troops have paid into that benefit. This is about how we can make the GI Bill protected and buffered against budget fights for years to come.”

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) officials argue:

“[The Post-9/11 GI Bill] is earned through honorable service, not through out-of-pocket fees.”

Paul Rieckhoff, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said:

“Pushing this GI Bill tax proposal on troops in a time of war is political cowardice…Some politicians would rather make backroom deals than raise taxes or find other ways to support our troops as bombs continue to fall overseas.”

Although this is mostly an act of Congress, President Trump’s silence regarding the promises he made to vets is conspicuous. He could come out against this bill, but likely he won’t. He probably isn’t even aware of it.

We should remember this the next time he stands up and extols vets for their service before sending them into another conflict without a plan for them when they come home.

 

Featured image from Wikimedia Commons via DVIDSHUB on Flickr under CC BY 2.0.

 

 

Ted Millar is poet and teacher. His poetry has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News and Liberal Nation Rising.