Bachmann backs off after targeting veterans

BACHMANN BACKS OFF AFTER TARGETING VETERANS…. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) caused a bit of a stir last week, presenting a budget plan that included freezing Veterans Affairs health care spending and cutting veterans’ disability benefits considerably. Yesterday, she backed off.

To put it mildly, the Bachmann proposal did not go over well among groups representing the needs and interests of veterans. The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars issued a statement responding to the Republican’s idea, saying, “No way, no how, will we let this proposal get any traction in Congress…. The day this nation can’t afford to take care of her veterans is the day this nation should quit creating them.”

It took a little longer than it should have, but yesterday, a full week after recommending the cuts, Bachmann reversed course.

Rep. Michele Bachmann backed off a plan on Friday to cut $4.5 billion in benefits to veterans, following strong opposition from several veterans groups. […]

[S]ince Bachmann released her proposal, veterans groups have voiced the loudest objections, causing Bachmann to drop them from her budget-cutting plans.

“One point on my discussion list was a $4.5 billion proposal that would affect payments made to our veterans,” Bachmann said in a statement posted to her website. “That discussion point has received a lot of attention and I have decided to remove it from consideration. The problem of government spending must be solved, but not on the backs of our nation’s war heroes.”

Bachmann offered no explanation as to why she thought the backs of our nation’s war heroes were less of an issue last week.

I also liked the fact that she made the announcement on a Friday afternoon, which is generally a time when politicians release bad news they hope won’t generate any attention. In this case, Bachmann did the right thing on a Friday afternoon, perhaps hoping few would notice she’d screwed up in the first place.

And while I’m glad to hear that veterans’ benefits will probably escape the Republican budget axe, it’s worth noting that the rest of Bachmann’s budget plan remains pretty ridiculous. As George Zornick explained yesterday, “While Bachmann’s decision to retract her proposal is laudable, there are other elements to her proposal that are just as punitive to large groups of Americans: for example, she proposes reducing Pell Grants for college students (along with a complete abolition of the Department of Education). She also wants to eliminate the Maternal and Child Health block grant.”