KINGSTON – Congressman Pat Ryan joined local veterans and community leaders to highlight the impact of far-right Republicans’ proposed budget cuts on Hudson Valley veterans and families.
“Far-right, extreme Republicans in Washington have offered two bad options: either we default on the full faith and credit of the United States, which is unprecedented in our nation’s history, or we agree to their cruel cuts to veterans’ services,” said Congressman Ryan. “These are the men and women who risked their lives for our country. American heroes I served with in Iraq who were told this country would always have their back. My response is simple: hell no. If Republicans want to get serious about cutting the deficit, let’s talk about finally making the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share: removing the yacht tax deduction, cutting the private plane tax break, and reining in the big corporations who don’t pay a cent in taxes. I refuse to make our veterans pay the price for extreme politicians’ decisions.”
“Not a Memorial or Veterans Day goes by that we don’t see our country’s leaders praising the service of our Veterans. Yet when it comes to actually caring for them, we pass a bill that threatens to cut and reduce services, the hypocrisy bewilders me,” said Kevin Keaveny, President of the Hudson Valley Center for Veteran Reintegration. “At what point do we say enough is enough? As a nation we must stand for our Veterans, not turn our backs on them.”
“I come from a family that knows what it means to wear the uniform. I served seven years in the Army. My twin boys both served, one in the Army, the other in the Navy. It is absolutely disgraceful to see these proposed cuts to our fellow veterans,” said Ray Harvey, an Army veteran and President of the Newburgh/Highland Falls NAACP. “These reckless budget cuts are an insult to everyone who has sacrificed for this country. Veterans should never be bargaining chips.”
“It is appalling that people are trying to cut benefits for my fellow veterans who put their lives at risk for this country,” said Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa, a Marine. “We as veterans served and sacrificed for our country, it’s the duty of our government to take care of us.”
On April 26th, Congressman Ryan railed against the far-right proposal to cut funding for veterans by 22%, which could lead to reduced veterans’ access to care, fewer staff to process claims, longer wait times for benefits, less support for national cemeteries, weakened VA cybersecurity and telehealth services, and further deteriorated VA infrastructure .
Last week, extreme Republicans again failed to honor their commitment to those who serve, passing a bill through the House Appropriations Committee with further cuts to veterans’ services, including:
* Underfunding the Toxic Exposure Fund by $14.7B. This fund was designed to expand health benefits to those veterans exposed to toxic chemicals and burn pits as laid out in the PACT Act.
* Dedicating $0 funding for PFAS remediation and cleanup, even while toxins contaminate military bases across the country, including Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh.
* Withholding their other appropriations bills, hiding the full scope of their cuts. This could threaten SNAP for 1.3 million veterans, housing vouchers for 50,000 veterans and support for 4,200 homeless veterans.