Friday, March 16, 2007

How the GOP Leadership Undermined Veterans Funding

Remember Dennis Hastert? How about Tom Delay? We certainly do, but not fondly. Here's one good reason.

We learn today that these two Republican leaders retaliated against those in their own party who pushed for more money for the Veterans Administration.

Republican Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey told NPR that he was ousted as chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee in the last Congress because he insisted on more funding for the agency. The VA, Smith said, has been "systematically underfunded" for years. Speaker Hastert and Rep. Delay weren't interested in hearing about it, Smith said, and punished him when he continued to argue for the funds.

Cutting spending
, apparently, trumps everything else, including the nation's obligation to its veterans.

This news gives the lie to the Republican Party's support for the troops. And it adds fuel to the fire started by the Washington Post, which recently found bureaucratic problems and inadequate facilities at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

So much for the right's "moral clarity."

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