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Friday, November 11, 2005

The House Veterans Affairs Committee Apparently Doesn't Have Time... 
To listen to, well, veterans.

From an American Legion press release:

The Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Steve Buyer (R-Ind.), announced plans to eliminate annual congressional hearings for Veterans Service Organizations. Under Buyer’s plan, The American Legion and other Veterans Service Organizations would no longer be afforded the opportunity to present testimony before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees.


Yep, that's American Legion, that's Veterans of Foreign Wars. That's us.

Traditionally, Veterans Service Organizations have presented not only their budgetary recommendations, but also their overall legislative priorities to the members of both the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees during the annual joint hearings. These hearings provide the single opportunity for the leaders of the veterans community to directly address the members of the Committees that have jurisdiction over the programs created to serve America's veterans. To deny that opportunity is to deny this nation's veterans.


It's time to open our pocketbooks and donate -- to whoever runs against Buyer.

It's also time to write the Republican leadership and ask that Buyer be stripped of his chairmanship.

Incidentally, Buyer's a colonel in the Army Reserve. I'm curious to see how he can explain this to his troops.

Let's see if these Republicans are serious about listening to veterans.

You can write Buyer here.

I just did.

Splash, out

Jason

P.S. Here's my letter:

Congressman Buyer,

I am disappointed and dismayed at your decision to cancel the annual testimony of veterans organizations such as the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars before the Veterans Affairs committee.

I am a combat veteran of the Iraq War and, like you, an officer in the reserve component of the United States Army. Specifically, I am a member of the Florida Army National Guard, where I command an infantry company.

As a commander of troops, I am curious to know how you would like me to explain your decision to my men, some of whom are themselves recovering from wounds received in Iraq, and dependent upon the VA health system for treatment.

If your committee does not have time to to meet with the premier veterans organizations in the country once a year, then what on earth DO you have time to do?

What are we paying you for?

Sincerely,

Jason Van Steenwyk

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They are thinking this: As the House becomes more and more completely based on gerrymandered districts, there is really no reason for incumbent Representatives to listen to any of their constituents. Or do their jobs, for that matter. As long as they continue to get their party's nomination, incumbents are pretty safe.

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