From an article posted at a great Military site.
As far as opinions and sites go, this is a middle of the road site, neither liberal leaning nor conservative leaning. They simply want Veterans to get their rightful benefits.
Smith has been replaced by Steve Buyer (R-IN). In his first few days as Committee Chair Buyer has managed to offend every veteran's group in the country. At a time when every veteran knows the VA needs more funding, Buyer said, "I want to modernize the system. I am not a defender of bloated bureaucracies." Buyer then went on to paint a perfectly clear picture of the VA of the future: "Some of the veterans service organizations, they are having this belief that everyone should have open access to the VA system, when in fact I believe that the VA system should follow its core constituency and the intent of Congress when we laid out our priorities, and that was in fact to take care of our disabled and indigent veterans first."
This was NOT an off-the-cuff remark by Rep. Buyer. He was placed in his position by the Republican Party leadership and speaks for the Party who answers to the White House. Buyer speaks the gospel and gets his sermons right from the Top. The most important part of Buyer's remarks is his deliberate "welfarizing" of the VA healthcare system. By telling us the priority of the VA is to care for "disabled and indigent" veterans first, he minimizes and denigrates the sacrifices made by ALL veterans. The VA was set up to serve ALL veterans including the "disabled and indigent." This careful positioning of the VA healthcare system creates the impression that the VA is a welfare program and veterans are just looking for a "handout." Also, it's easy to talk about the "intent" of a previous Congress when your goal is to undo what they have done. And the remark about "core constituency" is just plain outlandish. The VA serves ALL veterans.
Buyer's remarks are clever, well-planned, well-delivered and approved at the highest levels. They also point to a dismal future for the VA. The VA healthcare system is about to be changed, and there may never be any going back. Priority Group 8 veterans have now been cut from the system. Outgoing VA Secretary Principi has indicated that Priority Group 7 is the next to go. Under-funding means veterans wait months, and sometimes over a year, for necessary surgeries and other medical procedures. Yet Buyer talks of "bloated bureaucracies." That's code for "more budget cuts." Funny that there was no mention of "bloated" bureaucrats. They always seem to survive.
Buyer is a Citadel grad and served in the US Army Reserve during the first Gulf War. This guy has the best benefits in the world as a Congressman. Yet, he wants to take benefits away from those he not only served with, but from men and women he voted to send to war.
Do I think Congress will actually do this? I would be a pissed off Democrat if a Democratic controlled Congress cut Veterans benefits.
Buyer will not be in leadership in the new Congress, other than being a ranking minority member.
Keep your eyes out on this guy, I know its Indiana, but...it impacts a lot of Minnesotans and a lot of people I talked to campaigning.