Michele Bachmann To Veterans: Drop Dead
“No way, no how, will we let this proposal get any traction in Congress,” said Richard L. Eubank, the national commander of the 2.1 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.
On her website, the three-term congresswoman lists more than $400 billion in suggestions to cut federal spending. The VA suggestion would cap increases to VA healthcare spending, and reduce disability compensation to account for Social Security Disability Insurance payments — in other words, an offset. She says her plan is intended to generate discussion.
“The only discussion the VFW wants is to tell the congresswoman that her plan is totally out of step with America’s commitment to our veterans,” said Eubank, a retired Marine and Vietnam combat veteran from Eugene, Ore.
Bachmann’s move is wrong for so many obvious reasons.
Her list of cuts doesn’t explain the impact of freezing veterans’ health care funding, but the Congressional Budget Office said in a report issued in October that health care costs have been quickly increasing. VA’s health care budget was $44 billion in 2009, $48 billion in 2010 and is at $52 billion this year. The report forecasts a health care budget of $69 billion or higher by 2020 if trends continue, the report estimates.
Bachmann’s idea of cutting costs by reducing veterans’ disability compensation by the amount received in Social Security Disability Income is not new. The proposal, which would affect more than 150,000 veterans, has long been on a list of possible budget options prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, which describes the option as a way to “eliminate duplicate payment of public compensation for a single disability.”
The average SSDI benefit is $12,800 a year, according to CBO