BRIDGE BRIEFING: Ryan And Veterans

Ryan Plan Would  Slash Non-Discretionary Spending, Which Funded Veterans’ Health Care

Ryan Budget Would Slash Funding For Crucial Programs Assisting Vulnerable Individuals, Including Low-Income Housing, Head Start, Child Nutrition Programs, And Home-Delivered Meals For Senior Citizens. “Also striking is Ryan’s slashing of non-defense discretionary spending, which funds everything from veterans’ health care to medical and scientific research, highways, education, national parks, food safety, clean air and clean water enforcement, and border protection and other law enforcement. This part of the budget also funds a number of programs to assist poor or otherwise vulnerable people such as low-income housing; child care for the working poor; Head Start; the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program (WIC); and home-delivered meals for seniors. The Budget Control Act of last August substantially cut funding for non-defense discretionary programs by imposing tough annual budget caps, but the Ryan budget would cut these programs nearly $1.2 trillion below the caps. In fact, it would slash funds for non-defense discretionary programs over the coming decade by $800 billion below the level to which that funding would fall if sequestration occurred every year through 2021.” [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/21/12]

Ryan Plan Would Slash Benefits For Veterans

The Post Standard: Ryan Plan Would Pay For Tax Cuts On Top Earners And Corporations By Slashing Entitlements, Pell Grants And Benefits For Veterans. According to The Post Standard, “As the GOP continues its war on women, it adds to its victims the weak, disabled, elderly, poor and disadvantaged. Congressman Paul Ryan’s ‘Path to Prosperity,’ lauded by our representative Ann Marie Buerkle as ‘courageous,’ is in fact downright cowardly. Ryan wishes to extend the Bush tax cuts and cut the top tax rate for individuals and corporations from 35 percent to 25 percent. He pays for this by slashing Medicare, Medicaid, Pell Grants, food stamps, low-income housing subsidies and veterans’ health care.” [The Post Standard, 6/9/11]

Ryan Supported $13.5 Billion In Cuts To Veterans Health

2005: Ryan Voted For $2.6 Trillion Budget Resolution That Cut $10 Billion From Medicaid and $13.5 Billion From Veterans Health While Increasing the Federal Deficit. In 2005, Ryan voted in favor of the conference report on the Republican budget plan (HCR 95), which projected $2.6 trillion in spending and a $382 billion deficit for fiscal 2006.The budget cut Medicaid spending by $10 billion, spent every penny of the Social Security surplus, increased the nation deficit by $167.5 billion over five years and paved the way for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Furthermore, the conference report cut funding for veterans’ health care by $13.5 billion over five years. Yet the budget still found room for $106 billion in tax cuts for those who need it the least. The measure passed, 214-211. [Roll Call 149, S 95, 04/28/2005; House Budget Committee Democratic Caucus, “Summary and Analysis of FY 2006 Budget Resolution Conference Report, 4/28/05]

2003: Ryan Voted To “Spend Every Penny Of The Social Security Trust Fund” On Risky Tax Cuts, While Simultaneously Cutting $14 Billion From Veterans Programs. In 2003, Ryan voted for a budget resolution containing deep cuts in basic domestic programs, including $92 billion from Medicaid and $14 billion from veterans programs, to make room for almost all of President Bush’s $1.4 trillion in tax cuts. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi argued, “The Republican budget spends every penny of the Social Security Trust Fund.” The non-binding resolution passed the House 215-212. [Roll Call 82, S 95, 03/21/2003; Center for Budget & Policy Priorities, 3/28/03]

Ryan Voted Against Protections On Veterans

Paul Ryan Voted To Cut Funding For Veterans Benefits By $25 Billion, Imposed Enrollment Fees. In 2003, Paul Ryan voted for a budget that called for cutting $25 billion from veterans’ benefits, including veterans’ pensions, compensation, education and other benefits, over 10 years. The Disabled Veterans of America strongly opposed the budget, sending a letter to all members of Congress “to communicate our deep-seated outrage regarding the fiscal year 2004 budget adopted by the House Budget Committee, which would cut veterans programs by more than $15 billion during the next 10 years.” The GOP budget also included the President’s proposal to impose a $250 fee for enrollment in VA health care for category 7 and 8 veterans, along with a doubling of the drug co-payment for those veterans. The budget passed 215-212. [Roll Call 82, S 95, 03/21/2003; Letter from Edward R. Heath, National Commander, Disabled Veterans of America, 3/17/03]
Ryan Voted Against Protecting Veterans Benefits From “Cut, Cap, And Balance”
Ryan Voted Against Protecting Veterans’ Benefits From The Cut, Cap, And Balance Cuts. In July 2011, Ryan voted against a motion to recommit the bill with instructions that it be reported back with an amendment that would state that it will not be in order to consider balanced-budget constitutional amendments that could result in a reduction in veterans benefits. According to the St. Louis Dispatch, “Members defeated, 236-188, a bid by Democrats to protect veterans’ benefits from being trimmed in the $5.8 trillion, 10-year budget-cutting plan imposed by HR 2560…A yes vote backed the motion over GOP arguments that the plan already protected veterans’ benefits in full.” [Roll Call 605, H 2560, 07/19/2011; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/25/11]

Ryan Voted Against Additional Spending On Veteran Suicide Prevention 

Ryan Voted Against Spending An Additional $20 Million To Prevent Suicides By Combat Veterans. In June 2011, Ryan voted against a motion to recommit the Fiscal 2012 Military Construction-VA Appropriations bill with instructions that it be reported back with an amendment to increase funding for veterans medical services for PTSD and suicide prevention by $20 million. The funds would advertise suicide-prevention assistance and services for veterans. The $20 million would be offset by reducing funding for the Department of Veteran Affairs’ information technology program by $25 million. The motion to recommit failed, 184 to 234. [Roll Call 417, H 2055, 06/14/2011; Virginian-Pilot, 6/20/11]

Ryan Opposed Budget Increasing Veterans’ Health Care And Services By An “Historic” $6.7 Billion

Ryan Opposed Budget That Included Record Increase For Veterans. In 2007, Ryan voted against the fiscal year 2008 budget conference report that began to reverse six years of Republican fiscal mismanagement, provided for middle-class tax relief and would return the budget to balance – reaching a surplus of $41 billion in 2012 – without raising taxes. The budget increased funding or veterans’ health care and services by $6.7 billion (18.3 percent) above the 2007 enacted level, and $3.6 billion above the President’s budget. According to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the budget represented a “historic $6.7 billion increase” over the previous year’s budget. Meanwhile, the American Legion wrote, “The American Legion and its 2.8 million members applaud… the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Resolution.” According to the Military Officers Association of America, “…the resolution makes a strong statement of Congress’s commitment to restoring national confidence that our wounded warriors will receive the kind of first-quality care and services that they have earned…” The budget also saved veterans from paying increased fees totaling $355 million in 2008 and $2.3 billion over five years. The President’s budget imposed those new enrollment fees and increases co-payments on Priority 7 and 8 veterans. The budget passed 214-209. [Roll Call 377, S 21, 05/17/2007; House Budget Committee, Conference Agreement on the FY 2008 Budget Resolution: Building on the “Six for ‘06, 5/24/07; Military Officers Association of America; American Legion; Veterans of Foreign Wars, Washington Weekly, 5/25/07]

Ryan Opposed Full Disability And Retirement Benefits For Disabled And Honorable Service Veterans

Ryan Opposed Motion To Allow Veterans With Service-Related Disabilities And 20 Years’ Honorable Service To Receive Full Disability Benefits And Full Retirement Pay. According to the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, “Voting 188 for and 217 against, the House defeated a Democratic bid to allow veterans with a service-related disability and at least 20 years’ honorable service to receive full disability benefits as well as full retirement pay. At present, most veterans must deduct disability income from retirement pay in a subtraction known as the ‘disabled veterans tax.’ The motion was offered to the defense bill above, which already included GOP language phasing out the ‘tax’ for about one-third of affected veterans. If not offset elsewhere in the budget, the Democratic motion would add over $50 billion to the national debt over 10 years. A yes vote backed full, dual benefits.” Ryan voted no. [Saint Paul Pioneer Press, 11/9/03]