Local veterans protest proposed VA budget cuts
Some local veterans and representatives are advocating against potential Veterans Affairs budget cuts in debt ceiling proposals.
As the debt limit fast approaches, some programs are at risk of receiving budget cuts at 22%. The Department of Veterans Affairs said the cuts could “threaten medical care”, “worsen wait times” and “fail to honor” the memory of those who served. A rally held outside the Syracuse VA Medical Center saw local advocates, leaders and veterans speak out against the proposed cuts. Maurice Brown, a United States Army Veteran and Democratic Candidate for Onondaga County Legislature said the cuts do not reflect support for those who served.
“Supporting the troops, supporting the vets does not look like cutting VA funding,” Brown said. “It does not look like proposing a 22% cut to VA services.”
Concerns over medical access for veterans may not be the only things impacted, the VA says food, housing and job security could all be at risk. State Senator Rachel May said leaders have an obligation to keep veterans' interests in mind.
“It is our job to honor our promises and to serve the people who served us,” May said.
Some veterans and veterans’ family members shared their experiences with using VA services to receive fundamental care, saying they depend on it to take care of themselves and their families. Brown said the cost of war is more than just the cost of weapons and soldiers.
“Taking care of veterans is a cost of war,” Brown said. “If you cannot take care of veterans, you should not go to war to begin with.”
Brown said the cuts are no way to honor the service veterans gave to their country.
“Soldiers make a unique commitment, they give their life up to go to training to go away to defend our constitution,” Brown said. “Veterans make that sacrifice so we must make that sacrifice for them.”
The federal government has yet to reach an agreement regarding the debt ceiling.