Going Hungry on Veterans Day

House Republicans thank veterans for their service by cutting food stamps.

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The next time I hear a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives thank a veteran for his or her service, I'll hurl.

Veterans Day is on Monday. This year the holiday will come 10 days after cuts in federal food aid demanded by House Republicans go into effect. The cuts mean that 47 million hungry Americans, including almost 1 million veterans, will be even hungrier and more malnourished than they were last Veterans Day.

Mother's Day won't be much better because 80 percent, or 37 million, of the food aid recipients are women and children. And for the record, 10 percent or almost 5 million of the recipients are senior citizens.

I hope the House Republican budget guru, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is proud of his handiwork because it's a callous way of thanking vets for their service. Before the cuts, the average veteran received a little more than $4 a day for food from the feds. Now vets will have to get by on even less. Don't try this at home, because if you try to eat on $4 a day, you will be malnourished pretty quickly. The GOP went to the mat to get these cuts and now they want even more.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Congress.]

The Republican hostility towards vets is just the latest episode in the sad saga of vets under the GOP. George W. Bush and his vice president Dick Cheney both avoided serving in Vietnam when they were of draft age in the 1960's. But that didn't stop the deadly duo from sending more than 4,000 brave young Americans to their deaths in Iraq based on a lie about the existence of weapons of mass destruction there.

If wounded soldiers were lucky enough to make it out of Iraq alive, things didn't much better back home. During the Bush/Cheney administration, hospitals administered by the Veterans Administration were poorly staffed and inadequately equipped. The corridors of the “crown jewel” of the military hospital system, Walter Reed Hospital, were plagued with garbage and rats.

The tea party caucus in Congress forced $5 million a year in cuts for food aid. Why? Because the GOP shot down President Obama's proposal to eliminate $6 billion in federal tax freebies to oil companies and firms that own corporate jets. While millionaires, billionaires and oil company executives fly the friendly federal skies, almost 1 million veterans are still in the desert, fighting hard. This time they struggle in a fight for food in the land of plenty.

Thank you for your service!

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