Sunday, March 20, 2005

Gov. Rendell Blasts Plan to Cut Vets' Benefits

Ed Rendell slammed the Bush Administration this weekend over Bush's proposal to cut Veteran Health Benefits.
HARRISBURG, Pa. - While states are spending more to extend benefits to their National Guardsmen called to duty, the Bush administration is reducing benefits, Pennsylvania's Democratic governor said Saturday.

"While we the governors do all we can for our vets and our returning soldiers, our federal government has the primary responsibility for meeting the needs of our veterans," Gov. Ed Rendell said in his party's weekly radio address. "And that's why I find the president's budget cuts for critical veterans services to be unconscionable."

In his budget, President Bush has proposed charging certain veterans a $250 annual registration fee and raising from $7 to $15 the copayment those veterans pay for a 30-day supply of prescription drugs. The budget also would cut $293.5 million by limiting the veterans whose care in state-operated veterans homes is reimbursed by the federal government.

"During this time of war, it is absolutely the wrong time for our federal government to step back from any of its commitment to our veterans," Rendell said. "To do so would be penny-wise but pound-foolish."
I think that it's great that Gov. Rendell is speaking up for our veterans and against the Bush Administration's reckless national security policies-- I obviously think that the myth of the "strong Republican" needs to be attacked at each and every opportunity. But why not try and find a candidate to run for Pennsylvania's Senate seat who has military credentials that embody the Democrat's national security strengths? Does Rendell really think that words alone will alert the American public to the weakness being propagated by the Republicans and their irresponsible and ideologically driven national security decisions?

I for one feel that it is insufficient to simply state that the Republicans are weakening our country, while Democrats are looking for ways to strengthen it. We must put forth candidates who can quickly frame the Democrats as the strong and secure choice and the Republicans as the party of lies, ideology, and weakness. This is why I feel that we need to try and convince Anthony Zinni to run for PA's Senate Seat as a Democrat, but for now Rendell seems more intent on avoiding a primary and anointing a challenger to Santorum than thinking outside the box and finding a candidate who can effectively challenge the Republicans on national security issues.

*Originally posted at Young Philly Politics