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Budget Hurts Veterans

The Senate is voting today on the so-called bipartisan budget deal, which passed the House last week. Yesterday, 12 Republicans joined all of the Democrats in the Senate to invoke cloture on the bill and it is expected to pass today.

What many supporters of this bill won't tell you is that the details of the deal include cuts to our brave military veterans. The bill cuts over $6 billion from veterans benefits over the next ten years by reducing cost of living adjustments for future military retirees. The Washington Free Beacon estimates that this could “cost servicemembers up to $124,000 over a 20-year period.”

Yesterday Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama tried to block these cuts by suggesting that we cut IRS tax credits to illegal immigrants instead. While that suggestion would have saved the taxpayers over $4 billion and spared our military veterans, the amendment failed. This includes disabled military veterans, which Sessions rightly calls “unthinkable.” Unearned wealth redistribution to illegal immigrants won out over those who have fought and sacrificed for our country.

This two year budget deal alleviates the immediate political pain of brinksmanship negotiations and possible government shutdowns. But it completely fails to tackle our long-term problems of outrageous spending and national debt. It does absolutely nothing to address our $17 trillion in national debt. It actually increases spending, promising future cuts which we know will never, ever happen. I cannot understand, for the life of me, why Republicans continue to agree to future spending cuts that never materialize.

There have been some conservatives who've had the moral courage to stand up and oppose this plan. We need more conservative leaders in Washington. If the conservative movement is going to lead America like in the days of Reagan, it needs an articulate spokesman. Speaker Boehner is clearly not that person. His heart is not in the fight for conservative solutions to make the country better. If it was, he would be doing better than what he’s doing.

What’s missing is a belief that the best politics is good policy. What's also missing is the ability to communicate an agenda to inspire people for a better future. If you want to be a leader, you need to inspire and motivate. I would argue that we have some emerging leaders in the Tea Party movement who are capable of this, but notice how establishment Republicans are doing all they can to tamper their efforts. For example, you know it's bad when the New York Times and DC lobbyists are cheering for John Boehner in what they believe to be a “war” on the Tea Party. If battle lines do, in fact, exist, I'm not likely to end up on the same side as the liberal media and DC elite.

This budget deal does not embody bold conservative solutions, and it is a moral outrage that it fails to address the big issues and hurts our veterans in the process.