Republicans Aren’t Even Pretending to Care About Veterans Anymore

Ted Millar
3 min readApr 26
Photo by benjamin lehman on Unsplash

Almost a year ago, 41 senators voted to kill the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, a bipartisan bill designed to expand health care and disability benefits for veterans exposed to toxic chemicals and burn pits, in retaliation for Democrats passing the Inflation Reduction Act.

The PACT Act, “the most significant expansion of benefits and services for toxic exposed veterans in more than 30 years,” ultimately had enough bipartisan support to pass without those 41 senators’ votes.

Then in October, 49 republican House members demonstrated their own disdain for veterans when they voted against the Food Security for All Veterans Act, a measure designed to establish an Office of Food Security at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

With Democrats holding a slim majority, the bill passed 376–49.

But now republicans hold the House majority, and if they weren’t going to pretend to care about veterans and their families when they didn’t, they aren’t about to now that they do.

According to a recent piece Democratic Reps. Mark A. Takano, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Chris Deluzio wrote for Military Times, congressional republicans are threatening to slash $30 billion in veteran spending as part of Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s maniacal jeremiad against federal spending.

This is not a question of “fiscal responsibility,” as republicans love to claim they practice when appearing in public.

It’s part of a decades-old GOP strategy called “starving the beast", a political strategy former president Ronald Reagan’s budget director David Stockman coined.

Basically, the goal is to eliminate government spending (the “beast”) by defunding vital government agencies so they collapse under their own weight. Republican lawmakers can then return to their constituents and report that, just as predicted, those agencies were a waste of their money.

This is not surprising coming from the president whose first inaugural speech called government “the problem.”

Since it’s been around since Reagan, it’s hardly new. But make no mistake, republicans have been hard at work at it for the past three and a half…

Ted Millar

Ted Millar is a teacher, poet, and political writer for The Left Place blog on Substack: Twitter: @tedmillar