Last night’s debate showcased the clear choice American veterans face in this election. While President Obama emphasized his commitment to the sacred trust we hold with our veterans and outlined his strong record of supporting those who fight to keep us safe, Mitt Romney didn’t mention veterans once.
At the debate, President Obama highlighted his efforts to make sure veterans can get the health care they need and find good jobs when they return from the battlefield. Here are a few of the ways the President is fighting to support our servicemembers:
- Boosted the Veterans Affairs budget to increase funding for veterans’ mental health care by 29%, signed an executive order to expand the federal government’s military and veteran suicide prevention programs, and established new rules that make it easier for veterans suffering from PTSD to get benefits.
- Expanded healthcare access for Veterans living in rural areas and took concrete steps to end veteran homelessness by 2015.
- Began the transition to a paperless claims processing system to make sure veterans get their benefits quickly, and made it easier for National Guard and reserve members to gain eligibility for education benefits.
- Signed tax credits for businesses that hire unemployed veterans and wounded warriors—which are putting vets back to work today—and announced the creation of a veterans online jobs bank and an in-depth entrepreneurial training program that will help veterans find skilled jobs once they’ve returned home.
Unfortunately, Romney’s failure to address veterans’ issues at the debate is only the latest example of his inclination to treat veterans as an afterthought. Romney failed to once mention the troops serving in Afghanistan in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, and one of his senior advisers called the war in Afghanistan a distraction from what "real Americans want to talk about." This isn’t surprising given Romney’s dismal record of supporting veterans as governor of Massachusetts and how his plans could slash their benefits as President:
- As governor of Massachusetts, Romney cut hundreds of thousands of dollars from veterans funding in his first month in office.
- Romney didn’t mention veterans once in his jobs plan, education plan, or foreign policy white paper.
- Romney suggested privatizing veterans’ benefits and giving veterans vouchers for health care.
- The Romney-Ryan budget could cut funding for Veterans Affairs by $11 billion while giving new tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.
The choice couldn’t be any clearer: President Obama has made veterans’ health care, education, and job security a top priority since his first day in office; Mitt Romney has not. Click here to find out more about President Obama’s staunch record of standing up for veterans and his detailed plan to make sure the United States government is doing everything it can to give back to those who sacrifice so much to defend and protect the country they love.