Press Releases

Musgrave Holds More Cover-Up Hearings on Veterans - 8/15/2006

For Immediate Release: August 15, 2006
Contact: James Thompson
(970) 222-6397

Musgrave Holds More Cover-Up Hearings on Veterans

Special Interest Marilyn holds yet another taxpayer-funded campaign event
to cover up her embarrassing record on veterans issues.

FORT COLLINS—In the face of eroding support from veterans in the coming election, Marilyn Musgrave is holding more taxpayer-funded hearings to try to fool veterans into thinking she supports them, when her record proves otherwise. Two Colorado hearings have been staged by Musgrave’s re-election campaign on Tuesday in Burlington and Yuma.

At the top of the list of Musgrave’s numerous anti-veteran votes (see votes below) are her vote last year to cut $13.5 billion from veterans’ healthcare programs while giving billions in tax cuts to wealthy special interests, and her vote this past May to cut veterans’ benefits by $6 billion.

“Marilyn has caved in to the special interests and abandoned the people who serve our country,” said State Rep. Angie Paccione, Musgrave’s opponent. “She pays lip service to veterans in Colorado at these staged events, and when she gets back to Washington she votes against them.”

In addition to the nearly $20 billion in cuts to veterans’ programs, Musgrave voted against increased healthcare and benefits for veterans, voted against TRICARE for National Guard and Reservists, voted against full retirement and disability benefits for veterans, and voted against debt assistance for returning Guard and Reserve.

Two weeks before Memorial Day of this year, Musgrave voted in favor of the “widow’s tax,” which unfairly penalizes surviving spouses who have been paying money into the Survivor Benefit Plan.

“Veterans won’t support someone who votes against them every time,” Paccione said. “When Marilyn gets ratings of zero percent from veterans’ organizations, she knows she’s in trouble.”

Paccione said taxpayers can look forward to paying for more campaign events like these on other issues where Musgrave’s record is abominable, including gas prices, healthcare, and education.

“The weaker her record, the more hearings there will be,” Paccione added. “This is her fourth staged event for veterans in two months.”

In the state legislature, Paccione has consistently voted to support current and former members of the armed forces and their families.

Paccione passed legislation protecting deployed servicemen and -women from unfair insurance practices, and she co-sponsored legislation protecting spouses of service members who face sudden redeployment, increasing families’ access to the Military Family Relief Fund, expanding tuition assistance access to the Colorado National Guard, and guaranteeing in-state tuition for those on active duty, Colorado National Guard, and their dependents.

“The veterans of Colorado want a principled leader who will stand up for them and against the special interests,” Paccione said. “My record shows I will do just that.”

Taxpayers get to foot the bill for Marilyn Musgrave’s “hearings” and glossy flyers bragging about “keeping our promise to military retirees” and “protecting our veterans and their families.”

But Musgrave’s voting record speaks for itself.
No wonder Musgrave rated only 20 percent from the Disabled American Veterans in 2005, and 0 percent in 2004.

Musgrave Voted Against the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act
Marilyn Musgrave voted to maintain the “widow’s tax” on benefits received by survivors of their husbands and wives killed in service. Thousands of families have suffered the loss of a loved one in war. Many of these 50,000 affected families live at or below the poverty line, and yet the government in effect puts a “widow’s tax” on survivors. After putting money into the Survivor Benefit Plan—sometimes for decades—the government offsets VA survivor compensation by keeping SBP money, then returning the paid premium as taxable income. In May 2006, Congressman John Salazar moved to add the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act to the 2007 defense bill. Marilyn Musgrave voted against removing this unfair penalty on military widows. [HR 5122, Vote #144, 5/11/2006] 

Musgrave Voted for an Increase in Pharmacy Co-Pays for Military Families
The vote was to kill a Democratic attempt to offer an amendment to the FY 07 Department of Defense Authorization bill that would remove the Bush administration’s proposal to increase pharmacy co-pays for military families. Currently, military families who purchase their drugs through a retail pharmacy have a co-pay of $3 for generic drugs and $9 for brand-name drugs. However, the bill would raise those co-pays to $6 for generic drugs and $16 for brand-name drugs, as proposed in President Bush’s budget. The Democratic amendment sought to remove the provision increasing the co-pays and to leave the co-pays at their current level. [HR 5122, Vote #139, 5/11/06]

Musgrave Voted for a FY 2007 Budget That Hurts America’s Veterans
The vote was for a $2.8 trillion budget that is fiscally reckless and harmful for America’s working families. The budget adds hundred of billions to the already record budget deficit and includes a provision to increase the debt limit by $653 billion to $9.6 trillion. It cuts key programs like education, health, and veterans programs. The budget cuts veterans’ healthcare beyond 2007. Despite an initial boost in veterans’ health spending for 2007, over five years (from 2007 to 2011) the Republican budget resolution actually cuts funding for veterans’ appropriated programs by $6 billion below the level that CBO estimates is needed to maintain current services. Additionally, the Republican budget resolution includes significant increases in TRICARE costs for military retirees under 65. In fact, healthcare fees will triple for retired officers, double for retired senior enlisted personnel, and increase by 40 percent for junior enlisted retirees. [HCR 376, Vote #158, 5/18/2006]

Musgrave Opposed a $100 Million Military Personnel Increase
In 2005, Musgrave voted against a proposal to the budget to increase funding for military healthcare by $100 million and transitional job training for military personnel by $50 million. [HR 1268, Vote #76, 03/16/05]

Musgrave Voted Against a $53 million Increase in Healthcare and Benefits for Veterans
Musgrave voted against an amendment to the Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill. It would have added $53 million to health care and benefits for veterans, including $8 million for combat trauma care, $6 million for poly-trauma centers for troops who have returned home, $9 million for innovative medical and prosthetic research, and $7 million for additional staff to process compensation and benefits claims to reduce veterans’ waiting time for care. Also, the amendment would have provided $23 million to help 4,100 surviving spouses with children. [HR 2528, Vote #224, 5/26/2005]

Musgrave Opposed Increased Spending on Veterans and Homeland Security
The vote was against an amendment to the 2006 budget resolution to increase spending levels by $15.8 billion. The proposal boosted education, training, and social services programs by $8 billion, provided $2.9 billion more for veteran’s health care and $1.7 billion more for homeland security than the GOP resolution. Furthermore, the amendment would have reduced the deficit by $10 billion and raised $25.8 billion by reducing tax cuts for those earning more than $1 million. [HRS 95, Vote #82, 3/17/2005]

Musgrave Opposed Expanding TRICARE to National Guard & Reserve Volunteers
Even though the National Guard and Reserve has been used at an unprecedented level in Iraq and elsewhere, Musgrave voted against a motion to expand TRICARE access to thousands of Guard and Reserve. [HR 1815, Vote #221, 4/28/2005]

Musgrave Voted for a FY 2006 Budget That Dramatically Cut Veterans’ Programs by $13.5 billion
Musgrave voted to pass the FY 2006 budget, the Deficit Reduction Act, which cut funding for veterans’ health care by $13.5 billion over the next five years. This same budget includes billions in tax cuts favoring millionaires, with a net result of $50 billion in new debt.  [HR 95, Vote #149, 4/28/2005]

Musgrave Voted Against Debt Assistance for Returning Guard and Reserve
When sent to war, our fighting men and women have to focus on the mission. That means that their personal financial affairs grow more complicated and their financial security suffers. Marilyn Musgrave voted against a motion to the 2005 bankruptcy reform bill to protect members of the National Guard and Reserve from the bill’s means test if their debt was a result of active duty or was within two years of returning. [S 256, Vote #107, 4/14/2005]

Musgrave Voted Against Helping Reservists and Veterans with Their Debts
Musgrave opposed exempting active-duty reservists and veterans’ families from a means test that was added to the bankruptcy code. Under the bill, most debtors earning above the median income for their region would be required to file under Chapter 13, which entails substantial repayment of unsecured debt, rather than Chapter 7, which requires little or no payment. According to the General Accounting Office, 16,000 active duty personnel filed for personal bankruptcy in 1999—the most current data available. [S 1920, Vote #9, 1/28/2004]

Musgrave Voted Against a $265 Million Increase for Military Pay
Musgrave opposed an amendment increasing military pay by $265 million to cover $1,500 bonuses for each service member in Iraq and Afghanistan in FY 2004 [HR 3289, Vote #554, 10/17/2003]

Musgrave Voted to Slash Billions in Funding For Veterans
In 2003, Musgrave voted for a budget resolution that called for cuts of $15 billion over 10 years in veterans’ benefits, including cuts to disability benefit payments to former soldiers and reductions in money for GI bill benefits and healthcare. [H. Con. Res 95, Vote #82, 03/21/03]

Musgrave Voted Against Full Retirement and Disability Benefits for All Veterans
Musgrave voted against a motion to provide full benefits to all veterans. The motion would have stopped the practice of subtracting $1 from retirement pay for every $1 a veteran receives in disability compensation. (HR 1588, Vote #616, 11/7/2003)

Musgrave Voted for Tax Cuts for Wealthy over Housing for Military Personnel
This vote would deny an appropriation to increase spending in military funding bill by 10 percent, or $958 million. The money would have been offset by scaling back, for one year, 5 percent of the scheduled tax cut for individuals with annual incomes exceeding $1 million. The military construction bill, passed with a $1.5 billion cut from the previous year, helps ensure that servicemen and -women and their families have adequate housing. [HRS 298, Vote #324, 6/26/2003]

Musgrave Voted Against Funding Military Veterans’ Medical Care at the Highest Level
Musgrave voted against a motion instructing members of the House Conference Committee on the omnibus appropriations bill “to agree to the highest levels of funding for military veterans’ medical care.” [H J Res 2, Vote #17, 1/29/2003]

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