Obama’s Policies Have Failed Veterans And Military Families

Obama’s Policies Have Failed Veterans And Military Families

Vice President Joe Biden Travels To Norfolk Today. “The White House says Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Norfolk to discuss how the Obama administration is addressing rising college costs.” (“Vice President Biden To Discuss College Costs During Trip To Norfolk, Va.,” The Associated Press , 3/29/12)

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR POST-9/11 VETERANS REMAINS SIGNIFICANTLY ABOVE THE NATIONAL AVERAGE

Obama In 2008: “No More Homeless Veterans; No More Begging For Disability Payments; No More Waiting In Line For The VA.” OBAMA: “And it means caring for our troops when they come home, not forgetting about our troops. No more homeless veterans; no more begging for disability payments; no more waiting in line for the VA. We have a solemn obligation to honor those who have served on our behalf.” (Senator Barack Obama, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Houston, TX, 2/19/08)

Since President Obama Took Office, The Unemployment Rate For All Veterans Has Increased From 7.4 Percent To 8.3 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 4/1/12)

Since President Obama Took Office, The Unemployment Rate For Post-9/11 Era Veterans Has Increased From 8.9 Percent To 12.1 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 4/1/12)

“Gulf War-Era II Veterans Who Served In Iraq, Afghanistan, Or Both Had An Unemployment Rate Of 11.6 Percent In August 2011.” (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 4/1/12)

Obama’s Policies “Wont Create Jobs For Veterans”

In November 2011 Obama Signed An Executive Order “To Give Tax Credits To Employers Who Hire Post-9/11 Veterans And Wounded Warriors.” “President Barack Obama announced executive orders today to give tax credits to employers who hire post-9/11 veterans and wounded warriors, as well as enhanced career counseling and related services for veterans.” (Donna Miles, “Obama Announces Jobs Initiatives For Veterans,” American Forces Press Service, 11/9/11)

  • Employers Can Receive Up To $5,600 In Credits For Each Unemployed Veteran They Hire And Up To $9,600 For Each Veteran With Service-Connected Disabilities. “The ‘VOW to Hire Heroes Act’ will provide tax credits of up to $2,400 for employers who hire veterans who have been unemployed at least 4 weeks; up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been unemployed longer than 6 months; and up to $9,600 for businesses that hire veterans who have service-connected disabilities and have been unemployed longer than 6 months.” (James Dao, “President Obama Signs Veterans Tax Credit Bill,”The New York Times, 11/21/11)

The Director Of Obama’s Veterans Task Force Said Obama’s Executive Action “Won’t Create Jobs For Veterans.” “Matt Flavin, the veterans task force director, said Obama’s new executive action won’t create jobs for veterans. ‘In terms of creating new jobs, what we’re doing, you’re right, is giving veterans access to many of the jobs that there are that they are qualified to do,’ he said.” (Matt Negrin, “New Effort Won’t Create Jobs,” Politico, 11/7/11)

The White House Won’t Say How Much The Program Will Cost. “Danielle Gray, a counsel to Obama, wouldn’t say precisely how much the new initiative will cost: ‘The Department of Labor is able to provide these intensive services to post-9/11 veterans using existing resources. … A lot of these one-stop service centers already have dedicated staff. …We’ve attempted to make this service more intensive, more personalized and more responsive to the particular needs to this population as they are separating. … The technology tools that are being provided are being provided with existing resources.'” (Matt Negrin, “New Effort Won’t Create Jobs,” Politico, 11/7/11)

OBAMA’S BUDGET WILL DRIVE UP HEALTHCARE COSTS FOR MILITARY FAMILIES AND VETERANS

Healthcare Costs To Skyrocket For Military Families

Obama’s FY2013 Budget Cuts Military Health Care Funding By $12.9 Billion Over The Next Five Years, Resulting In “Higher Enrollment Fees” And Increased “Pharmacy Copayments.” “In the next fiscal year, the military has outlined a $1.8 billion cut as part of a projected $48.7 billion health care budget covering 9.6 million people. The cuts would total $12.9 billion over five years. To offset the loss, retirees would pay higher enrollment fees based on how much they earn through their military pensions. Retirees and active-duty family members would pay more for pharmacy copayments, too.” (Barrie Barber, “Military Retirees Could See Increase In Health Insurance Costs,” Dayton Daily News , 3/30/12)

“The Pentagon Is Proposing Substantial Increases In Health Care Premiums For Working-Age Military Retirees.” “Benefits for military retirees are also targeted. The Pentagon is proposing substantial increases in health care premiums for working-age military retirees. For some retirees, the premiums for TRICARE, the military health-care program, would nearly quadruple from $520 per year to $2,480 in 2017. Veterans’ advocates denounced the proposed increases. Retired vice admiral Norb Ryan, president of the Military Officers Association of America, called it a ‘a significant breach of faith with those who have already completed arduous careers of 20-30 or more years in uniform.'” (Tom Vanden Brook, “Pentagon Budget Calls For Cuts To Jets, Benefits,” USA Today, 2/13/12)

  • TRICARE Prime Enrollment Fees Will “Rise By 30 Percent To 78 Percent, Depending On Retirement Income.” “The Defense Department’s proposed 2013 budget calls for an increase in annual enrollment fees for retirees in Tricare Prime to rise by 30 percent to 78 percent, depending on retirement income.” (Patricia Kime, “Lawmakers Warn Of Fight Over Tricare Increases,” Marine Corps Times , 3/28/12)
  • Some Retirees “Will See Their Health Care Costs Nearly Quadruple.” “Military-age retirees who make more than $45,179 annually – a pension usually reserved for officers – will see their health care costs nearly quadruple, from $600 annually in fiscal year 2013 to $2,048 in 2017.” (Nancy Youssef, “Heaviest 2013 Defense Budget Cuts Would Fall On Troops,” McClatchy, 2/13/12)

Veterans’ Advocates Call Increased Fees “A Significant Breach Of Faith” With Military Retirees. “Veterans’ advocates denounced the proposed increases. Retired vice admiral Norb Ryan, president of the Military Officers Association of America, called it a ‘a significant breach of faith with those who have already completed arduous careers of 20-30 or more years in uniform.'” (Tom Vanden Brook, “Pentagon’s $525B Budget Lists Cuts To Jets, Benefits,” USA Today, 2/14/12)

Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA): “You’re Changing Someone’s Contract After The Contract Has Been Signed.” “Members of a key Senate panel warned Pentagon officials Wednesday of a looming, lengthy debate on the Defense Department’s proposal to raise Tricare fees for military retirees, saying the increases unfairly target those who devoted their careers to the armed forces.Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., a former Marine and current chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel, said the proposal reneges on an obligation established when the nation’s volunteer forces signed up. ‘You can’t renegotiate the front end once the back end is done,’ Webb said. ‘You’re changing someone’s contract after the contract has been signed.'” (Patricia Kime, “Lawmakers Warn Of Fight Over Tricare Increases,” Marine Corps Times , 3/28/12)

Obama Has Supported Decreasing Military Benefits In The Past

In 2011, Obama Proposed Raising Medical Coverage Co-Pays For Military Families And Military Retirees. “President Obama would raise pharmacy co-pays for military families and hike medical coverage fees for military retirees as part of his debt-reduction plan unveiled Monday.” (Gregg Zoroya, “Military Groups Slam Obama Plan To Raise Co-Pays,” USA Today, 9/19/11)

  • Obama’s Plan Would Place A $200 Fee On Retired Military Families Who Receive TriCare-For-Life. “The Obama plan would introduce a $200 annual fee for retired military families who wish to continue with Tricare-for-Life program that supplements Medicare for retirees over 65. The proposal would save $6.7billion in government spending over 10 years, the White House says.” (Gregg Zoroya, “Military Groups Slam Obama Plan To Raise Co-Pays,” USA Today, 9/19/11)
  • Plan Would Institute Co-Pays On Drug Store Purchases. “The administration also wants to encourage military families and retirees to use less expensive options when buying prescriptions under current coverage. The deficit plan would eliminate co-pays for generic mail-order drugs, while instituting percentage co-pay rather than a small flat fee for drug store purchases. Obama says this would save more than $20 billion over 20 years.” (Gregg Zoroya, “Military Groups Slam Obama Plan To Raise Co-Pays,” USA Today, 9/19/11)

In 2009, Obama Considered Having Private Health Insurers Billed For Treatment Of Veterans’ Combat Injuries. “Veterans groups are angry after President Obama told them Monday that he is still considering a proposal to have treatment for service-connected injuries charged to veterans’ private insurance plans.” (Adam Levine, “Veterans Groups Irate At Obama’s Private Insurance Proposal,” CNN, 3/17/09)

  • “Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki Confirmed Tuesday That The Obama Administration Is Considering A Controversial Plan To Make Veterans Pay For Treatment Of Service-Related Injuries With Private Insurance.” (Adam Levine, “Senators Slam Plan For Wounded Vets To Use Private Insurance,” CNN, 3/10/09)

The Proposal Would Limit Third Party Options For Veterans Who Would See Higher Premiums And Difficulty Receiving Coverage. “The groups also say that the cost of treating service-connected injuries could lead to veterans quickly maxing out their benefits in third-party insurance, risking coverage for not just them but their families, who are also covered under the plans. In addition, they foresee premiums rising to cover the cost of treating the service-connected injuries.”(Adam Levine, “Veterans Groups Irate At Obama’s Private Insurance Proposal,” CNN, 3/17/09)

“THE NEW G.I. BILL ISN’T WORKING”

In August 2009, President Obama Promised That The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill Would Help “Those Who Have Borne The Heaviest Burden Lead Us Into The 21 st Century.” “In early August of 2009, President Barack Obama stood with a group of young soldiers at George Mason University in Virginia and proudly announced that the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, which he’d sponsored in the Senate, had taken effect. ‘This is not simply a debt that we are repaying to the remarkable men and women who have served,’ Obama said of the bill, which provides tuition and housing support to veterans. ‘We are letting those who have borne the heaviest burden lead us in to the 21st century.'” (Rosie Gray, “For Thousands Of Veterans, The New G.I. Bill Isn’t Working,” BuzzFeed, 3/8/12)

“Three Years Later, The Bill Has Failed To Deliver On Its Promise For Tens Of Thousands Of Young Veterans” Who Are Now “Dipping Into Their Savings, Facing Eviction, And Taking Out Loans To Get By.” “Three years later, the bill has failed to deliver on its promise for tens of thousands of young veterans, according to interviews with students and administrators. Student veterans from across the country report that the Department of Veterans Affairs simply hasn’t paid their tuition yet this semester, or that it just arrived, months late. Promised housing stipends, too, remain unpaid. Veterans are dipping into their savings, facing eviction, and taking out loans to get by. The culprit appears to be simple staffing shortages and bureaucratic sluggishness, but the consequences have been intensely disruptive.” (Rosie Gray, “For Thousands Of Veterans, The New G.I. Bill Isn’t Working,” BuzzFeed, 3/8/12)

Sources Estimate “The VA Has Backlogs Of Tens Of Thousands Of Unprocessed Claims From The Nearly 700,000 Veterans” Seeking Benefits. “There is no national tally of delayed benefits, but people familiar with the process say that the VA has backlogs of tens of thousands of unprocessed claims from the nearly 700,000 veterans who have taken advantage of the new rules since they became law two years ago. This year, the VA says it’s received spring 2012 enrollments from 406,855 veterans.” (Rosie Gray, “For Thousands Of Veterans, The New G.I. Bill Isn’t Working,” BuzzFeed, 3/8/12)

  • “It Is Unclear How Many Payments Are Delayed, But VA Records Show That More Than 21,800 Post-9/11 GI Bill Claims Were Pending Nationwide As Of Monday.” (Rick Maze, “Delayed GI Bill Funds Leave Students Scrambling,” Marine Corps Times, 3/9/12)

A “Bump In The Road” Led To A Processing Delay Of Up To Seven Weeks For Veterans Attending Colleges On The East Coast. “The Veterans Affairs Department says it has hit a ‘bump in the road’ in processing GI Bill benefits claims. Affected student veterans are calling it missing rent money. VA’s Buffalo, N.Y., regional office that processes claims for East Coast colleges and universities is up to seven weeks behind, meaning that schools are late receiving tuition and fee payments and students are left empty-handed if they are expecting a monthly living stipend.” (Rick Maze, “Delayed GI Bill Funds Leave Students Scrambling,” Marine Corps Times, 3/9/12)

Joshua Ray, A Navy Veteran Attending Yale University: “The Absolute Lack Of Information Keeps Vets Paralyzed, Unsure How To Proceed.” “Several people I know, including yours truly, are struggling to know what to do, what to tell the landlord when we don’t have all the rent, how to keep the lights on. … A thousand dollars is not much to live on from December to mid-March, and the absolute lack of any information keeps vets paralyzed, unsure how to proceed.” (Rick Maze, “Delayed GI Bill Funds Leave Students Scrambling,” Marine Corps Times, 3/9/12)

A Disabled Veteran Brockport College Student “Had To Drop Out Of Brockport Because He Didn’t Receive Living Expenses.” “Still, he told of a disabled veteran who recently had to drop out of Brockport because he didn’t receive living expenses, which he previously received, apparently because of delays in processing his request.” (James Goodman, “Helping Vets Reconnect,” Rochester Democrat And Chronicle, 11/11/11)

“The VFW Is Concerned That Many Of Today’s Newest Student-Veterans Do Not Have Access To The Information They Need To Make Sound Academic Decisions, Making The Most Of Their Earned Benefits.” “Unfortunately, the VFW is concerned that many of today’s newest student-veterans do not have access to the information they need to make sound academic decisions, making the most of their earned benefits. In fact, a recent Senate investigation demonstrated that many student-veterans may have become victims of potential fraud, waste and abuse at the hands of schools that consistently fail to deliver on their educational promises.” (Richard DeNoyer, Committees On Veterans’ Affairs, U.S. Senate And U.S. House Of Representatives, Testimony, 3/7/12)

OBAMA’S PROPOSED DEFENSE CUTS WOULD HARM VIRGINIA’S ECONOMY

In 2010, Virginia Was Home To 819,490 Veterans. (Virginia and The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, State Summary, 11/10)

Stephen Fuller, Director Of The Center Of Regional Analysis At George Mason University: Defense Cuts Virginia’s “Achilles’ Heel.” “Virginia is more vulnerable to this kind of policy shift than any other state. … Defense spending was our strength during the downturn. It kept unemployment lower here than in most other states. It kept the economy from crashing as far as other states.’ It’s also our Achilles’ heel.” (Rosalind S. Helderman, “Virginia Stands To Feel The Most Pain From Defense Cuts,” The Washington Post, 8/10/10)

13.9 Percent Of Virginia’s State GDP Comes From The Military. “Virginia, Hawaii and Alaska may suffer the most economic harm from defense cuts of as much as $1 trillion during the next decade, a Bloomberg Government study shows. Those three states are the most dependent on U.S. military spending, the study found. Virginia, home of the Pentagon and the Norfolk naval base, tops the list with 13.9 percent of its gross domestic product derived from defense spending.” (David Lerman, “Military Cuts Threaten Defense-Dependent States,” Bloomberg, 11/17/11)

According To The Virginia National Defense Industrial Authority, Defense Spending Supports Nearly 1 In 5 Virginia Jobs. “DoD contributed 18.9% of Virginia jobs.” (Virginia National Defense Industrial Authority, ” Defense Spending In Virginia,” 1/18/12)

  • Defense Spending Directly Supports 187,000 Virginia Jobs And 900,000 Overall. “DoD was Virginia’s number one direct employer (187,000 workers)… DoD spending supported more than 900,000 jobs… Mostly highly-skilled workers making above mean salaries.” (Virginia National Defense Industrial Authority, ” Defense Spending In Virginia,” 1/18/12)

Obama Closed Norfolk’s U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), Eliminating 1,900 Virginia Jobs

In 2010, Then-Defense Secretary Gates Announced Cuts To “Contractors And A Military Command Based In Norfolk, VA,” Which Meant The Loss Of “Thousands Of Jobs.” “Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Monday that the Pentagon will cut thousands of jobs, including a substantial chunk of its private contractors and a major military command based in Norfolk, as part of an ongoing effort to streamline its operations and to stave off political pressure to slash defense spending in the years ahead.” (Craig Whitlock, “Pentagon To Cut Thousands Of Jobs, Defense Secretary Says,” The Washington Post, 8/10/10)

  • Three Virginia Mayors, Including Paul Fraim (D-Norfolk) Asked Obama To Oppose Closure Of JFCOM. “On August 9, the Secretary Of Defense announced that he had recommended to you that U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) should be closed. We write to express our opposition to his proposal, and request that you reject the Secretary’s recommendation.” (William Sessoms, Mayor Of Virginia Beach, Linda Johnson, Mayor Of Suffolk, Paul Fraim, Mayor Of Norfolk, Letter To President Obama, 8/13/10)
  • “Sen. James Webb, A Former Navy Secretary, Said The Proposal Could Be ‘Harmful To The Capabilities Of The Finest Military In The World.'” (Rosalind S. Helderman, “Virginia Stands To Feel The Most Pain From Defense Cuts,”The Washington Post, 8/10/10)

“Obama Approved The Closure Of The Joint Forces Command” In January 2011 “Despite Repeated Requests” From Gov. McDonnell And The Virginia Congressional Delegation. “President Barack Obama approved the closure of the Joint Forces Command Thursday night despite repeated requests by Virginia Gov. Robert F. Mc­Donnell and the state’s congressional delegation to salvage the military installation employing more than 6,000 in Hampton Roads. In a brief memo from the White House, Obama announced that he accepted U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’s plan to shut down the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk and Suffolk. No date was given for the closure.” (Anita Kumar, “Updated: Obama Okays Closure Of Joint Forces Command,”The Washington Post’s Virginia Politics Blog, 1/6/11)

In August 2011, Joint Forces Command Was Formally Dissolved. “The ceremony to disband the Norfolk-based command took place at JFCOM’s Suffolk campus. It was a moment of history – the first time a Defense Department combatant command has been dissolved – and it brought out top leaders, including Adm. Mike Mullen, outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” (Hugh Lessig, “JFCOM’S Functions Remain,” Daily Press, 8/5/11)

1,900 Positions Were Eliminated. “About 1,900 positions in Hampton Roads were eliminated, although hundreds are expected to find other jobs.” (“Year In Review: Military,” Daily Press, 12/24/11)

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