Unreal!… Democrats Redeploy Veteran's Benefits to Philippines
The democrats talked about helping veterans…
They just didn’t say which country’s veterans they were going to help.
The US lost thousands of soldiers securing freedom in the Philippines during World War II. Now, Democrats are going to give benefits to Filipino veterans while taking money from US veterans. (Photo of World War II Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines)
Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) at The Times-Gazette reported:
As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Committee, the work of helping to ensure that those who have worn a military uniform receive the benefits and respect to which they were promised, is often rewarding.
A recent Veterans’ Affairs Committee meeting took an unusual twist, which many people are surprised to learn about when I tell them.
This story is about a two-part process that led to unbelievable decisions.
First, the Veterans’ Committee took away benefits from some very deserving American veterans.
Second, the committee gave benefits to veterans of another country who don’t live in the United States, and never have lived in this country or been American citizens. I opposed both actions.
I am against the Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2007 (H.R. 760). This legislation will provide benefits to Filipino World War II veterans.
These veterans were members of the Philippines military. They fought in the Pacific Theater, presumably on behalf of their native country.
They are citizens of the Philippines and not U.S. citizens. While these Filipino troops may have fought bravely, side-by-side, with American soldiers, they should be looking to the Philippines for veterans’ benefits.
The United States has obligations to American veterans. We should not be held responsible for the benefits of the Philippines or any additional countries.
The Filipino veterans’ provisions in HR 760 are similar to a plan passed by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
If signed into law, it would provide full veterans’ status to World War II era Filipino soldiers and even their survivors.
This would include pay for service related disabilities, survivor pay for service-connected deaths, as well as pensions and death benefits.
Those who are living in the Philippines, and are not U.S. citizens, would receive $6,000 to $8,400. Low-income widows would receive $3,600.
I have witnessed some contentious hearings in my years in public service. VA Committee Chairman Bob Filner, D-Calif., was determined to pass the Filipino Veterans Equity Act. When the exchanges between the chairman and ranking member (and former chairman) Steve Buyer, R-Ind., became too heated, Filner ordered a recess to plot strategy with the Democratic majority.
The measure passed on a straight party-line vote and Filner refused to recognize any additional Republican amendments.
Providing veterans’ benefits to Filipino service members is only half of the issue.
Perhaps more egregious is how the Democrats offset the cost of the new benefits. Because of House PAYGO rules, any new entitlement spending (such as the Filipino Veterans Equity Act) must be funded by either a corresponding cut in existing spending or matching revenue gains.
In this case, the Democrats on the Veterans Committee voted to save nearly $1 billion by eliminating a $2,200 special monthly payment to veterans who are less than 100 percent disabled, but 60 percent or greater disabled.
Paying Filipino service members who served alongside American troops in the Philippines during World War II sets a dangerous precedent. There were certainly brave Koreans and Vietnamese who served alongside Americans during the Korean and Vietnamese conflicts.
There are some Afghanis and Iraqis who are serving nobly with their American counterparts today. The Filipino Veterans Equity Act makes it logical for the United States to pay foreign fighters from these conflicts future benefits as well.
It is outrageous that U.S. veterans who have a high level of disability have lost up to $2,200 per month in benefits.
Rather than using U.S. tax dollars to pay American veterans who have sacrificed, Chairman Filner and the Democrats on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee decided that paying non-U.S. citizens was a more important national priority.
This does not serve our nation.
Hat Tip George M. Lauer
UPDATE: PST314 comments below that the benefits were owed to the Filipino soldiers since the islands were part of the American Commonwealth at that time and the benefits were promised them.
That makes sense.