PENNSYLVANIA — Just days after Memorial Day, Pennsylvania Republicans continue to oppose crucial new aid for our veterans, despite proving time and again their willingness to give money to millionaires in the form of tax cuts.
The American Rescue Plan, which passed in March, improved care for veterans by providing additional resources for the VA Health Administration to respond to more expensive care needs that may have emerged for veterans during the pandemic. Additionally, the ARP is funding up to 12 months of rapid retraining assistance for thousands of veterans in Pennsylvania and nationwide who lost jobs due to the pandemic.
The American Jobs Plan will dedicate billions in funding to update increasingly outdated VA hospitals. The median age of Veterans Affairs hospital facilities is 58 years, while the median age of U.S. private sector hospitals is roughly 11 years. President Biden believes our veterans deserve state-of-the-art hospitals and care, which is why the AJP provides $18 billion for the modernization of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics.
Instead of supporting President Biden’s plans to support our communities and veterans, Pennsylvania Republicans have marched in lockstep against the Biden agenda — including funding for veterans. Every Pennsylvania Republican voted against the American Rescue Plan, and have pledged to oppose the upcoming American Jobs Plan. Senator Pat Toomey called the American Rescue Plan a “colossal waste,” despite the ARP authorizing over $250 million in funding to reduce the backlog of VA claims that grew by more than two-and-a-half times since the onset of COVID-19. Pennsylvania veterans are relying on their VA benefits to pull them through.
While Pennsylvania’s Republicans in Congress have been unwilling to support President Biden’s pandemic aid for veterans, they’ve proven time and again that they’ll drop everything to support handouts for millionaires and wealthy corporations. Senator Toomey and Representatives Fitzpatrick, Perry, Smucker, Kelly and Thompson — the current PA Republican members of the House who were in Congress at the time — all voted for President Trump’s 2017 tax giveaway, which added trillions of dollars to the national debt while opening new loopholes for the wealthy and made it easier for corporations to ship Pennsylvanians’ jobs overseas.
“Our veterans in Pennsylvania don’t just deserve our thanks, they deserve real action to support them when they come home,” Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesperson Rosie Lapowsky. “That is why President Biden and the Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan, which continues to support our service members who so bravely fight for our freedom. It’s shameful that our GOP representatives in Washington will give handout after handout to their wealthy donors, but aren’t willing to help out our veterans in these trying times.”