House Democrats fail to support veterans as bill languishesThursday, September 30, 2010
LANSING – House Democrats have refused to address legislation that would allow military veterans of the Cold War era to continue living in the state-run veterans homes in Grand Rapids and Marquette.
The reform measure was sponsored by Sen. Jason Allen, who chairs the Senate Committee on Senior Citizens and Veterans Affairs. Senate Bill 1499 also would have clarified the process for future admissions. The northern Michigan lawmaker introduced the bill after a specific request by the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for the clarification.
“Our veterans got the job done when the country needed them,” Allen said. “There is no excuse to delay this important matter. We need to get this done for those who served us.”
The measure, which had passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, was scheduled for consideration in the House when Democrat leaders suddenly removed it from the agenda.
“We missed a perfect opportunity to show strong support for our Cold War veterans and it’s very disappointing,” said Allen. “There is no legitimate reason for holding up this measure and failing to give our veterans peace of mind.”
The department acknowledges and pays for qualified expenses for Cold-War-era veterans although state law remains silent to this period of conflict. As a result, the legality of such admissions to the Dominic Jacobetti Veterans Facility in Marquette and the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans has been called into question by state auditors.
“Now the matter remains unresolved until November or later,” Allen said. “It’s unfortunate that political gamesmanship ruined what should have been a simple reform to help some deserving veterans. This legislation deserves swift passage and area Democrat lawmakers must convince their leaders to stop these delay tactics.”
American Cold War Veterans
---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996