Monday, August 22, 2011

Rehberg and Tester and Baucus and Lummis and Enzi and Barrasso all have a "veteran problem"

My fellow Rocky Mountain prog-blogger Rob Kailey writes about Rep. Dennis Rehberg's "veteran problem" in an Aug. 20 post on "Left in the West."

Interesting to note that out of six U.S. reps and senators from Montana and Wyoming, only one -- WY Sen. Mike Enzi of Gillette -- claims military service. He has six years in the WY Air National Guard. This is military service but not overseas service, as you will note with the two Vietnam vets and their op-ed in The Missoulian::
For all the partisan talk in Washington, D.C., about standing your ground, Congressman Denny Rehberg is standing on shaky ground when it comes to honoring veterans' service. Rehberg might think he took a principled stand on the budget, but he's got the wrong principles.

Rehberg and some of the most radical members of Congress have taken a hardline approach to fixing our debt challenges. Here's the problem: They've drawn a line at protecting Montanans who fought for their country overseas.

Important lifelines like the Veterans Administration could have been gutted by as much as 25 percent in one of the plans Rehberg recently voted for. Veterans have already paid for access to the VA by serving our country in foreign wars, so it's completely reckless for Rehberg to put our benefits at risk because he won't get rid of tax loopholes for his millionaire friends.

Rehberg's disregard for the impacts of his decisions doesn't just affect veterans -- it affects Montanans who count on Medicare and Social Security, too.

Medicare and Social Security are also important guarantees that Montanans have already paid for by working and paying taxes our entire lives. And just as Rehberg can provide no guarantee that his plans protect veterans' benefits, he can't guarantee protections for Medicare and Social Security either.

The irony is Rehberg - along with many of his colleagues who stood in the way of a bipartisan debt solution - will drape themselves with the flag whenever a TV camera is around.

The tragedy is they haven't backed up their patriotism with action.

Our country is about commitment and responsibility. Not just to those of us who have risked the ultimate sacrifice for our country, but for every American.

To live up to his responsibility to veterans and all Montanans, Rehberg will need to work together to find real solutions to our debt challenges.

When we served our country we worked together with Americans from across the country of all stripes to get things done on the battlefield. We expect Rehberg to do the same in Washington, D.C.

Alex Taft is a retired transportation professional and candidate for Missoula City Council, Ward 3. Montana Sen. Cliff Larsen is a rancher and recently retired businessman and represents District 50 in Missoula County. They are both Vietnam veterans.
This seems really odd, but this peacenik Leftie in Cheyenne has more military experience than five out of six of the Congressional reps and senators that represent more than 245,000 square miles of American real estate (and thousands of veterans). And that experience amounts to 18 months as a U.S. Navy ROTC midshipman whose only active duty involved eight weeks on an aircraft carrier tracking Cuban and Soviet vessels around Cuba. And I also got to party hearty at Gitmo. Weird, eh?

And these people will be curtailing benefits for all those who did serve?

This isn't only a veterans' issue. Mr. Taft and Mr. Larsen make this point over and over again. It affects all of us.

No comments: