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GOP & Tea Party only paying lip service to needs of our veterans

The The Daily Sun,
Republicans claim to be the Party of Patriots and "support our troops." Their actions speak a lot louder than their words, and tell a different story. Here's a list of veteran's bills they've blocked over the last six years.

1. H.R. 5059 — The Clay-Hunt Suicide Prevention Act.

2. S-1982 — Health Benefits & Retirement Pay Restoration.

3. H.R. 1168 — Veterans Retraining Act.This bill would provide for assistance to help veterans who are currently unemployed with their expenses while retraining for the current job market.

4. H.R. 1171 — Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization. This bill would reauthorize programs in support of homeless veterans, to assist them with job training, counseling, and placement services through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

5. H.R. 1172 — Requiring list on VA website of organizations providing scholarships for veterans which does nothing more than direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to include information about scholarships for veterans.

6. H.R. 1293 — Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act of 2009. Here's another bull in support of those who have fought for their country, passed by House Democrats and blocked from becoming law by Republicans. This would increase the amount paid by the VA to disabled veterans for necessary home structural improvements from $4,100 to $6,800 for those who are more than 50 percent disabled, and from $1,200 to $2,000 who are less than 50 percent disabled. This means, if a veteran lost the use of his legs in service of his country, the country will pay for the wheelchair ramp so that he can live at home.

By the way, the last time this ceiling was lifted was in 1992. There isn't even a fiscal reason for being against this bill, as the total cost of this bill, according to CBO estimates, would be a "whooping" $20 million. That's about a quarter (25 cents) per family of four.

7. H.R. 1803 — Veterans Business Center Act. This bill set up a Veterans Business Center program within the Small Business Administration, which would specialize in such programs as grants for service-disabled veterans, help them develop business plans and secure business opportunities. In other words, folks, it would create jobs and offer opportunities those who have fought in defense or our country.

8. H.R. 2352 — Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act. This bill essentially combines a number of other bills that Republicans had blocked in the Senate previously, and adds a few elements. The bill would again establish a Veterans Business Center Program and it would establish a Military Entrepreneurs Program.

9. S 3457 — Job Corps Act

10. H.R. 1511 — Torture Victims Relief Act

Wake up folks. The GOP and the Tea Party members in Congress are only paying "lip service" to the commitment owed our veterans. When it comes to putting their legislation where their mouths are they are truly MIA.

Don't expect Paul Ryan to accomplish much different than the same ole humiliating inactions and the Republican majority's evasion of the business of legislating. A good start would be to reintroduce the bills mentioned above. The American public has rated the popularity of Congress at a mere 5 percent with good reason. Their work ethic is non-existent and their hypocrisy is abominable.

They love to criticize President Obama for not doing his job. How about for a change of pace they look into the mirror to see the true culprits. Oh wait a minute, they are most likely packing their luggage in preparation for another long recess.

Bernadette Loesch

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'Tax extenders example of business as usual decision making

To The Daily Sun,

Congress is actively considering action on taxes. In the next two weeks we could see a vote on an impactful tax bill. The tax media is reporting that Congress is working on a $700 million end-of-year tax package. House and Senate negotiators are working on a "tax extenders" package. Among the things included is making the research credit permanent and delaying the Affordable Care Act's "Cadillac" tax on high-cost health care plans for two years.

"Tax Extenders" are carve-outs in the tax code that give special treatment to certain activities. They are usually only authorized for one year and must be "extended." That one-year, short-term policymaking means that there is a massive annual lobbying scramble for reauthorization from almost every corner of Washington.

Here's a very partial list of the pork:

— The Research and Development (R&D) credit encourages business innovation ... well not so much. It actually provides a tax incentive to allow government to influence business behavior. It aids in governmental picking of winners and losers.

— The production tax credit (wind energy) and the solar tax credit that were enacted to subsidize economically non-viable alternative energy.

— "Bonus depreciation" for business capital expenditures is an accelerated depreciation.

— There is a $250 deduction for teachers who spend money out of pocket for classroom materials.

— There are low income and "new markets" tax credits to encourage development of affordable housing in underserved areas.

And many, many, many more.

For more detailed information visit: http://dev.tax.org/www/features.nsf/Articles/EE6EBB3B7A1CB63585257F0800607838?OpenDocument

Wouldn't you think Congress could actually think about reforming the tax code instead of waiting until the end of the December then ramming through some mixture of pork and bad policy as an emergency end of year boondoggle? Doesn't the nation deserve better job performance?

The tentative deal now under consideration is being developed by congressional leaders and the White House. The extenders are likely to be attached to the omnibus budget legislation expected to pass Congress by Dec. 11. This is the worst kind of intentional policy and poorly controlled pork. We got into the fiscal mess we are in by just this exact kind of business-as-usual decision making. It is time to reach out to our legislators and let them know what you think about the fruits of their labor. Please, do so before they do it to us again.

Senator Kelly Ayotte: 202-224-3324
Senator Jeanne Shaheen: 202-224-2841
Congressman Frank Guinta: 202-225-5456

Marc Abear

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