More Needs to be Done for Americas Veterans
D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today praised passage
of the Injured Soldiers Hospital Bill (H.R. 2998) and the Veterans
Benefits Act of 2003 (H.R. 2297), and called on the Bush Administration
and Republicans in Congress to do more for our Veterans.
Soldiers Hospital Bill will correct the egregious practice of requiring
soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan to pay for food while in
military hospitals. The Veterans Benefits Act of 2003 will
provide some additional benefits for veterans. Though these bills
provide needed benefits for veterans, they do not address the most
pressing problems faced by veterans - an unfair disabled veterans
tax and the veterans health care crisis.
about time we passed these bills. It is appalling that it has taken
the Republican leadership so long to realize that handing a bill
to hospitalized soldiers for their food is wrong," Pelosi said.
"The Republican leadership in Congress and the Bush Administrations
actions must meet their rhetoric on veteran issues. They must stop
blocking bipartisan efforts to end the disabled veterans tax."
disabled veterans are prevented from receiving retirement and disability
benefits. A bill ending this disabled veterans tax is supported
by a majority of Congress, but Republican leaders have refused to
bring it to a vote. House Democrats have organized a discharge petition,
a procedure that will force a vote on the bill but Republican Leaders
have blocked House Republicans from signing it. Of the 218 signatures
needed to bring this issue to an immediate vote, only 2 are Republican.
disabled veterans are men and women who are willing to put their
lives on the line for us," Pelosi said. "Democrats will
not sit idly by while the programs that benefit our veterans are
dismantled. We must eliminate the disabled veterans tax and mandate
full funding for the Veterans Administrations health
care programs. Democrats will fight to ensure that America fulfills
its moral obligations to those who have paid the high price for
our freedom -- those who have worn our nations uniform."
are working to improve the quality of life of veterans and their
families. Democrats have introduced a comprehensive veterans package,
which repeals the disabled veterans tax, allowing veterans to receive
both the disability pay and the retirement pay they have earned
and deserve. Democrats are also working to reduce the national disgrace
that leaves 200,000 veterans waiting up to six months for an appointment
at Veterans Affairs hospitals. Democrats are working to restore
the $1.8 billion that Republicans are trying to cut from Veterans
health care. And Democrats have taken action to block the Bush Administrations
proposed increase in prescription drug co-payments for veterans
and unfair enrollment fees.