GOP will butcher VA funding while shamelessly using vets as 'political props': Gold Star mom

GOP will butcher VA funding while shamelessly using vets as 'political props': Gold Star mom

When Donald Trump was president, Republicans in Congress voted to raise the debt ceiling three times. But with Democrat Joe Biden now in the White House, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) is demanding severe budget cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling again.

The cuts that House Republicans are proposing include programs for military veterans — cuts that Stephanie Keegan, legislative director of Purple Heart Hall of Honor, Inc. and a veterans' affairs advocate, is vehemently critical of in a scathing op-ed published by The Hill on May 25.

Keegan is a "Gold Star mother," meaning that she lost a child in battle. Her son was killed serving in Afghanistan in January 2016.

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"The recent fight over the debt ceiling shows me just how little some Republicans care about taking care of the Americans they sent off to war," Keegan argues. "To rub salt in the wound, Republicans are willing to use veterans like my son as political props to distract from the fact that veterans benefits are being used as a bargaining chip to further a plan that could cripple our national economy."

Keegan believes that funding for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is already "woefully inadequate" — yet some House Republicans want to cut it "by as much as 22 percent."

"In fact, 24 veteran service organizations sent a letter to House Republicans asking them to protect veterans benefits," Keegan notes. "Republicans refused. By not carving out an exception to protect the VA, they've put cuts on the negotiating table. Even if Republicans do protect VA funding, their bill threatens housing, job training, and Pell grants for veterans, as well as billions in health care funding for veterans through federal COVID funds."

The activist warns that over 80,000 jobs at the VA "could be lost" under Republican budget proposals, according to VA estimates.

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"The GOP talks up a good game about its support for the troops, and has no problem using veterans and military imagery to further their extreme agenda," Keegan writes. "But their default plan is nothing short of an act of betrayal.""

READ MORE: Bernie Sanders: Biden must 'exercise the 14th Amendment' to 'prevent an economic catastrophe'

Stephanie Keegan's entire op-ed for The Hill is available at this link.

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