Politicians Thank Veterans For Their Service, Then Cut Programs To Feed Them

Hometown heroes volunteered and served lunch at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans May 5, 2010.  Photo Credit Cpl. Priscilla Sneden (USMC)

Hometown heroes volunteered and served lunch at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans May 5, 2010. Photo Credit Cpl. Priscilla Sneden (USMC)

This weekend we celebrate Veterans Day.  Veterans Day is the day when we all stop and thank the brave men and women, who stepped up to serve our country.  These men and women risked their lives to protect our freedom, and our way of life.  I would personally like to thank every veteran who chose to serve our country.

I am not the only one who is thanking veterans this weekend.  “Our veterans represent the very best of America,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster.  “Today, and every day, we express our gratitude for the sacrifices they’ve made, for the extraordinary example they’ve set, and for everything they’ve done to keep our country safe, prosperous, and free.

Last year Speaker John Boehner released a video message that said:

Saying ‘thank you’ is important, but there’s always more that we the people can do for those whose sacrifices preserved the heritage of freedom.

While he is saying ‘thank you’ to veterans, he is slapping them across the face at the same time. Speaker Boehner is leading the House of Representatives to starve nearly a million veterans.  The Republicans in the House pushed for billions of dollars in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) more commonly known as food stamps.

There is a well-known myth that people on food stamps are gaming the system.  Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) believes that the entire food stamp program is overrun with “fraud,”. “Absolute 100 percent, all of it is fraud. There’s fraud all through that,” Mullin said.

I wonder if Congressman Mullin’s opinion would change when he finds out that over 2,000 veterans in his state alone rely on food stamps to feed their families?

Accordingly to a report out this week from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, approximately 900,000 veterans are currently dependent, in whole or part, on food stamp benefits to care for their themselves and their families.” (Forbes 10/30/13)

The Huffington post also compiled the number of veterans who rely on food stamps and they came up with a different number.

According to data compiled by the Huffington Post, 1.5 million veteran households are using SNAP. The sharp increase of veterans or other military families relying on food stamps is right in line with what is happening across the board: more families are struggling to make ends meet because of the recovering economy and families who may have never needed assistance before are looking for help.” (Veterans Today)

I do not know which is worse; the fact that Congressional Republicans made cuts to a program that helps feed low-income families or the fact that over 900,000 veterans are dependent on food stamps?

It is disgusting and appalling that our veterans are paid such poverty wages that they cannot afford to live.  Our veterans are also coming back from their time in the service to find high unemployment.  Currently there is a 9% unemployment rate for Veterans, and higher for those Veterans who returned with disabilities.

Bryce Covert wrote on Think Progress:

Nearly one in 10 veterans with disabilities were without employment in 2010. They are also disproportionately likely to live in poverty and to be homeless. In 2010, nearly a million veterans ages 18 to 64 had experienced poverty over the past year. As of 2011, nearly one in seven homeless adults was a veteran and more than four in ten homeless veterans were without shelter. They are therefore heavily impacted by cuts to the social safety net.”

This Veterans Day we need our politicians to stop talking how much they support veterans and actually do something to help our struggling vets.  We need to start by restoring the cuts made to the SNAP program. Then we need to work on lowering the unemployment rate for returning soldiers.

The government should be doing more to help transition these veterans into careers.  They could move right into a civilian government job like the Postal Service or Department of Transportation. The government could also mandate a percentage of veteran employees in private companies with defense contracts.

We as a nation should not sit idly by while our veterans are starving and living on the streets.  This Veterans Day take a moment to help a vet by calling your Congressman and telling them to restore the cuts to the SNAP programs and stop starving our veterans.

Homeless Veterans

You can share this image on Facebook by clicking here, or on Twitter by clicking here.

A Special Veterans Day Message From Congress-Elect Shea-Porter and Kuster

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter statement:

“Today, we pause again to thank our veterans. Throughout our history, America’s small towns and large cities have brought forth men and women who answer their country’s call.  I watched as my grandfathers’ World War I generation marched in parades, and watched as my dad’s World War II generation marched in parades, and then watched as our vets of the Korean War and Cold War joined them.  I watched as my husband’s Vietnam era Vets lined up and the WWI group dropped away.  Now I watch as the Gulf War I vets and our newest Iraq and Afghanistan Vets show up to march, as the last of my dad’s generation fade away.

Throughout it all, we have prayed for peace and prayed for the men and women who show up to preserve it or restore it.  Thank you to my husband, my dad, my grandfathers, and to all of the men and women who answered the call.  This Veterans Day, we gratefully remember those now gone, and honor those living, for their service to America.”

Congresswoman-elect Annie Kuster’s Veterans Day statement:

“As we celebrate Veterans Day, my thoughts are with the generations of servicemen and women who have sacrificed so much to protect our country and our way of life. As the daughter and daughter-in-law of World War II veterans, I know the extraordinary courage and sacrifice of those who have served in the armed forces.”

“We have no higher responsibility as a nation than to care for the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States of America. Our veterans deserve not just our respect and gratitude, but the support and resources they need when they come home. On Veterans Day, we recommit ourselves to serving our veterans and their families as honorably as they have served each and every one of us.”

Veterans Day Is Not The Only Day We Honor Our Vets

Today is the day when the nation stops to honor the brave men and women who have served our country.

Home of the FREE because of the BRAVE


‘Welcome Home’ the two words that every veteran looks forward to hearing.  Now as we celebrate Veterans Day we need to talk about the biggest problem facing veteran, unemployment.

In 2011 President Obama took this problem very seriously and pushed the “VOW to hire Vets Act” which has continued to lower the unemployment rate of veterans to its lowest point in years.

The President is not the only who have taken pride in helping our veterans returning home.  America’s Building Trades have been helping veterans find good careers through their Helmets to Hardhats program.

“Because of their military experience, these guys no longer have the kid in them,” said Doug Williams, Business Manager of Iron Workers Local 433. “They have discipline, can follow instructions and are not afraid to work hard. They are the kind of men we need in our industry.”

The Helmets to Hardhat program is also using returning vets to help heal America’s wounds here at home.  Veterans are currently working on rebuilding the World Trade Center.

“I had just arrived at my duty station when Sept. 11 happened,” says Lawrence Gotti, Ironworkers Local 40, a U.S. Army Veteran. “Being from New York and going through what I’ve gone through, It’s just an honor—it’s a point of personal pride to be here now working on any part of the World Trade Center.”

See the special Veterans Day message from Iron Workers General President Walter Wise

Locally the Iron Workers Union (local 7) have helped many veterans receive the training they need to build a long career as an ironworker.  Last year Shawn Cleary, Business Agent for Local 7, gave a speech at a local ‘Topping Out’ ceremony for graduating Helmets to Hardhats graduates. (Video)

While Helmets to Hardhats is a phenomenal program to help returning vets one organization has been helping vets for far longer.  The US Postal Service has a workforce of over 600,000 people and over 25% are veterans.   Even better is that 8% of the workforce are disabled veterans.  The USPS is one of the largest employers of returning veterans in the country, and now that is in jeopardy.

The funding problems the USPS is facing would reek havok on the workforce.

The Postal Service announced in August that it wants to reduce the workforce by 220,000, and is seeking authority to lay off as many as 120,000 workers.

If 120,000 postal workers were laid off, approximately 26,000 veterans would be affected.

Below is an ad created by the American Postal Workers Union in conjunction with Save Americas Postal Service to highlight these cuts.

As we move away from the Presidential election and into the Lame Duck Congress we have to be very mindful that there are many pieces of USPS recovery legislation that may come up.  Some of the legislation is good and would fix the over-funding of their retirement system, while others would end up closing post offices, and stopping six day delivery.

Working to save our USPS is just another way we can provide our returning vetrans with good careers here at home.