BALITANG BETERANO: VETS WINNING IN FIGHT FOR EARNED BENEFITS

INTERNET NEWS, NOVEMBER 13,  2003   (Via E-MAIL) Culled by Col.(Ret.) Frank B. Quesada from Washington D.C.) – The long weary fight for rightfully-earned benefits of military retirees and veterans is gaining ground – with their initial victory of securing at least 50 percent disability rating – to receive both their disability and retirement pay checks, reports from the camp of Sen. H. Reid (D-NV)

This was revealed in the final version of of the defense authorization bill approved by the House of Representative recently.

It can be recalled that this running battle by retirees for their rightful compensation after serving the U.S. Armed Forces had been dangling in the clothesline like abandoned laundry.

At present, retires mostly disabled veterans must forfeit am dollar of their retirement pay for every dollar of disability pay they receive from the VA. This unfair policy under the government’s ingratitude against retirees who served over 20 years of military service, most of them with disability had been unjustly trashed by government, while legislators enjoyed increasing their pay at the expense of these intrepid servicemen.

I contrast, retirees complain that civilian workers in government were allowed to receive and enjoy both payments presently.

The lead senator in this fight is no less than Senator H. Reid (D-NV) of Nevada who had long been battling the government against such unjust treatment of retirees who were made to sacrifice after loyal and dedicated service to the flag which has been wrong

It was Senator Reid who negotiated the agreement last month for the 20 years or more of military service and at least 50 percent or greater disability for the retirees to qualify for what has been termed as “ phased-in” program during the next 10 years.

“This is the first step.” said Reid together with many Democrats supporting the fight for justice and fairness for these aging retirees This step was echoed by David Cherry spokesman for Rep. Shelley Berkley, who vowed to still fight for full benefits.

Democrats submitted a motion that would have sent the report back to he conferees to consider full concurrent receipt benefits, report showed.

Such provision seeks a $22 billion dollar program for those who would qualify – would be able to see more money per month through the year 2014.

However, the motion failed under 118-217 votes, with Rep. Berkley’s vote aimed to send the report back for more consideration of veteran’s benefits, with opposition votes of Republicans, Reps: Jim Gibbons and Jon Porter against the motion. Veterans have been monitoring those who oppose the Democrat’s motion for next election.

“This will definitely be a strong point of opposition in the next bid for reelection of Pres. Bush and the Republicans,”: said an irate retiree.

Most veterans especially with 50 percent disability rating, disagree with the agreement, stating that all should be included to be fair to everyone.

“The agreement will only cover close to 225,000 veterans, leaving behind a majority of 400,000 without both benefits,” said Sen Carl Levi (D-M)

“Why do such inequities and unfairness happen to veterans?” asked a WW-II Filipino-American veteran from California who also has been a victim of government injustice against war veterans. He hears no reply from a conveniently deaf congress.

It could be noticed that those Filipino-American World War II war veterans had also been hapless victims of congressional cruel hoax for the past 60 years. They were made to die under a slow and retarded piece-meal dispensation of their active and honorable military service in WW-II for the last 60 years. While avid politicians keep and don’t share the pork earned by veterans in battle. It’s very, very wrong !

“For a nation to do injustice against its own war veterans who shed blood and died for the flag, has been more disgraceful than to suffer it.” someone said.

It was reported that the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) stated that such agreement that was reached although a milestone, but it is still not equitable enough..

Gratitude is a moral duty ought to be paid especially by government that which taxpayers and war veterans expect to pay – if government wants peace and stability within.

The conference report in congress will be elevated to the Senate for final approval, and later to the president for his signature. President Bush’s action will certainly reflect on his bid for re-election, which retirees and veterans are hotly watching for positive action.

Politics as usual dominate the scene, and Democrats, especially the presidential wannabes were leading an attack against Republicans and President Bush during the recent Veterans Day about how Republicans are mistreating war veterans. This issue of war veterans benefits will surely linger up to next election.

It will be a critical point of debate in the campaign supported by as many war veterans who had been mistreated. The Fil-Am WW-II veterans, on one hand, have been mobilizing to join the retirees in affording a huge frontline of assault against politicians who refuse to give veterans their money earned from active service.

Democrats argue that veterans and retirees have suffered hardships that have been perpetuated by the commander-in-chief. On the other-hand, Bush argues that the 2004 budget contains the largest increase for Veterans Affairs Department.

But veterans and retirees insist that they must be paid their hard-earned benefits first. They no longer trust political promises. Presidential Democrat wannabes have started to stir the hornet’s nest by using the veteran’s cause against the administration.

“Walking away from our veterans is wrong, and under Kerry administration this mistreatment will be a thing of the past.” said Kerry, a Vietnam veteran.

“I would propose to spend $2-billiion dollars more annually than what Bush spends on health care for veterans,”: sad former Gen. Wesley Clark . and would provide the 240,000 National Guard Reserves medical insurance, who are only covered when they are in active duty.

Both Kerry and Clark attacked Bush especially by allowing thousands of ill veterans languish on waiting list for care at VA hospitals.
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Col. Frank Quesada
Former Senate Committee, Secretary Veterans and Military Pension
Associate, PMA ‘44
(E-mail me at frankquesada_1@juno.com)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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