Republicans pass test
Seven months is an eternity in Washington, D.C., but it was only that long ago when Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin introduced what was to become the House Budget Plan. That plan, which was backed by local Congressmen Dan Lungren and Tom McClintock, would have ended Veterans Administration 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 Barack Obama’s proposed budget for the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, one of the last resorts for veterans’ disability appeals.
But as Veterans Day approached last week, the same Republicans who backed Ryan’s plan did an unexpected reversal and voted to approve a series of tax credits for businesses that hire unemployed veterans—despite the fact that doing so meant approving a provision of President Obama’s job plan.
Hooray! At a cost of $120 million, the cuts are minuscule and actually make up only a tiny part of the $447 billion jobs package, an initiative that Republicans have so far obstructed because of their ideological opposition to tax hikes, even for millionaires.
But in these times of unmatched polarization in politics, even a tiny step toward reasonable bipartisan agreement should be hailed. We give a shout-out to Senate Republicans on this one for doing the right thing.