Congress is looking at many ways to cut the deficit and the debt, but their most recent attempt would include cutting veterans benefits. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this would affect more than 1.3 million veterans. Unfortunately, this isn't a new strategy. In January of this year, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) proposed cutting $4.5 billion from the Department of Veterans Affairs that goes to disabled veterans.
Veterans benefits are not an entitlement program and should never be flippantly targeted for cuts, even when we are in a rough economy, and especially not while we are engaged in two prolonged wars. When a veteran takes the oath to "Support and Defend the Constitution of the United States," veterans benefits are essentially part of the government's oath in return for their service. This includes disability, healthcare, education and family benefits that we promise to them in exchange for their sacrifice of years, comfort, family, safety and even their lives.
We cannot allow cuts to the VA in order to keep giving tax credits to oil companies. As home to more than 300,000 veterans, Oklahoma should take a firm stand against any cuts to the promises our Great Nation makes to its heroes.
(Isaac M. O'Bannon is the president of the Oklahoma Democratic Party Veterans Committee - www.OKDemocrats.org/odpvc.)