This Monday Republicans everywhere offered up empty expressions of gratitude and respect to commemorate Veterans Day while at the same time working to deny Veterans benefits from Capitol Hill. Veterans, often depend on these government programs, but it appears that for Republicans, gratitude for veterans does not extend beyond public relations matters to where it matters most, the law.
Over 900,000 veterans depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (federal food stamps).
But this doesn’t seem to matter in the latest House Republican version of the farm bill, which would slash funding for the food stamps program by nearly $40 billion and boot 2.8 million people off the program, eliminating food stamps eligibility for non-elderly jobless adults who can’t find work or an opening in a job training program. That includes 170,000 veterans, who would be removed through a provision in the bill that would the eliminate food stamps eligibility of non-elderly jobless adults who can’t find work or an opening in a job training program.
A prime example of this is the Veterans Employment and Training Services Agency. The VETSA is the agency charged with fulfilling the promise that the men and women who fight for us on the front lines should not also have to fight for a job when they return home. Yet under GOP obstructionism and the effects of sequestration measures, the Transition Assistance Program, which used to serve over 150,000 vets a year, was forced to leave thousands of transitioning veterans unserved.
The Jobs for Veterans State Grants Program has also experienced cuts translating to a reduction in the capacity to serve by tens of thousands fewer veterans in their efforts to find civilian employment. The National Veteran’s Training Institute and Homeless Veterans Reintegration Programs have also been reduced, further eroding the tailored services we provide for veterans, assuring the Republican promise of consistent job security for veterans is an empty one.
It’s no secret that the GOP has been behind attempts to reduce public housing subsidies, cut back on job search and career transition services, and in their latest attempt at implementing recently debunked austerity theory, the GOP is now trying to deny veterans access to food stamps with budget cuts.
For reasons ranging from War-related disabilities to post-traumatic stress disorder, war-weathered veterans can sometimes have a hard time securing civilian employment, resulting in an unemployment rate for recent veterans that hovers at about 10 percent, 3 points above the national unemployment rate.
Yet these facts are met with indifference by the GOP’s bottom line, and just this month, SNAP funding was cut by $5 billion as money for the program expired.
Seems to me Republicans should save their salutations, and demonstrate their gratitude towards veterans in a more substantial and lasting way, than a public show of deference masking deep hypocrisy.
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