On Tuesday — three days before Veterans Day — House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer (R-IN) announced that for the first time in at least 55 years, “veterans service organizations will no longer have the opportunity to present testimony before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees.”
The Disabled American Veterans, the “official voice of America’s service-connected disabled veterans,” just issued a scathing release calling the move “an insult to all who have fought, sacrificed and died to defend the Constitution.” The timing, they said, “could not have been worse.”
From The Hill:
The chambers have until Nov. 18 to resolve the two bills into one in conference, and press reports of a $1.2 billion compromise figure — nearly $700 million short of the Senate’s larger emergency infusion — have alarmed veterans lobbyists.
Though veterans groups have received assurances from House and Senate leaders that their healthcare would be exempted from any across-the-board budget cuts mandated by budget reconciliation, lobbyists were dismayed at the likelihood that the VA will end up with too little for 2006.
“I wish I could be confident that the Senate will stay at their higher number, but I just don’t know,” said Joe Violante, national legislative director for the DAV.
Today is Veterans Day. Thank you to all veterans for their service to our country.