DPCC Report: The Republican Administration is Failing Our Veterans

DPCC Report: The Republican Administration is Failing Our Veterans

November 13, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, today released a report card on the ways the Trump Administration has failed our nation’s veterans. Over 19.2 million veterans live in the United States, but despite repeated Congressional action, the Administration has failed to provide veterans with the benefits they have earned.

 A recent FOIA request discovered that two years ago, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney started blocking more than 80,000 Vietnam-era veterans from receiving treatment for four major medical conditions—Bladder Cancer, Hypothyroidism, Parkinsonism, and Hypertension—related to exposure to Agent Orange. Mulvaney rejected the overwhelming scientific evidence on these conditions and instead focused on how much supporting these veterans would cost.

 “Our veterans and their families sacrifice so much to keep our country safe and strong. When they commit to serve our country, we make a promise to them that they have the health care, housing, and resources they need when they return home. Unfortunately, Mick Mulvaney has rejected important medical research and ignored Vietnam veterans that are suffering from medical conditions tied to Agent Orange. The Trump Administration is betraying our veterans’ trust,” said Senator Stabenow.

 “The way the Trump administration is treating our veterans is incomprehensively cruel. President Trump and his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, ignoring recommendations from their own VA to extend benefits to over 80,000 Vietnam-era veterans who suffer from diseases linked to exposure to the toxic chemical Agent Orange. That Republicans are comfortable doling out $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to billionaires and corporations, but not spending money to help 80,000 dying veterans is unfathomable. Trump and Senate Republicans should be acting on the House-passed veterans bills languishing in Senator McConnell’s legislative graveyard. Anything less is an insult to those who have proudly served the United States,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.

 The report card stresses the Trump Administration’s inadequacy in five areas:

1. Protecting Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange - Mick Mulvaney blocked more than 80,000 Vietnam veterans form receiving treatment for medical conditions related to exposure to Agent Orange. 

2. Reimbursing Emergency Care - the Veterans Administration has not reimbursed over 60,000 veterans who received emergency care at non-VA facilities in 2017. 

3. Expanding the Caregivers Program - Because of a missed deadline, the VA left out Vietnam and Korean War veterans of an expansion of the Caregivers program, which would improve access to veterans' health care and expand benefits for caregivers. 

4. Preventing Veteran Suicides - the Administration has not taken adequate steps to address mental health professional shortages or strengthen suicide prevention services at the VA. 

5. Hiring Qualified Doctors - Incidents across the country have revealed systematic issues at the VA that are impacting the quality of care for veterans.