A Veterans Day test for Republicans

Will Congress finally pass a part of the president’s jobs act?

Seven months is an eternity in Washington, D.C., but it was only that long ago that Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin introduced what was to become the House Budget Plan. And that plan, which was strongly backed by local Rep. Wally Herger, would have ended VA health care for more than 1.3 million veterans.

Fortunately, the proposed cuts elicited such an outcry that they were killed in markup. The House voted instead to cut in half President Obama’s proposed budget for the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, one of the last resorts for veterans’ disability appeals.

These are the same Republican flag-wavers, of course, who always show up at veterans’ events to tout their supposed patriotism. When it comes to actually helping veterans, however, they’re missing in action.

Such is the case currently, as Veterans Day approaches. Senate Republicans are being asked to approve a series of tax credits for businesses that hire veterans. At a cost of $120 million, the cuts make up a tiny part of the president’s $447 billion jobs package that so far Republicans have obstructed.

On Monday (Nov. 7) they voted to move the legislation forward, but they’re hedging on final approval because of their ideological opposition to any tax hike, even one on millionaires. We already know that they’d rather protect the super-rich than put firefighters and teachers back to work. We’ll soon learn whether that’s true of veterans as well.