Hutchison Vows to Fight for Military Personnel Benefits

Tuesday, 30 Aug 2011 04:06 PM

By Dan Weil

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The defense spending cuts targeted by Congress earlier this month have some worried that benefits will be cut for active military personnel and veterans. But Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, is working to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“We in Congress are going to have to cut spending, but I will not stand for cutting any of our military and veterans’ benefits that they have earned,” she said in a speech Monday at a veterans convention in San Antonio.

“Why? You’re not asking for more, you’re just asking that promises be kept, and if there’s anything that we can do in America, it is that — keeping our promises to our military, our veterans, and retirees.”

In April, amid talk of pay reductions for military personnel during the debate to prevent a government shutdown, Hutchison co-sponsored a bill to guarantee military pay first if the government did indeed close.

“We got a lot of interest around the country from our military men and women,” Hutchison said. “People were blogging and writing in and calling, saying, ‘What were they thinking about, that our military wouldn’t get their pay on time? That’s disturbing, that our troops on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq and their families have to worry about paying their mortgages.’”

The bill wasn’t needed thanks to a last-minute budget agreement. But Hutchison urges continued vigilance on the issue.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, 970,000 Americans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan more than once, she said. “What is most remarkable is that nearly all of them joined the military after that tragic day of 9/11. They volunteered for service. They didn’t join for the perks, they didn’t join for the college money, they didn’t join for the tax-free groceries. They joined because they knew that America was in harm’s way, and they wanted to be part of saving our country.”

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