(Washington, D.C.) – Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) was one of the key veterans and military organizations present at a briefing at the White House late Tuesday regarding the potential impacts if the nation defaults on its loans on August 2. The debt ceiling must be raised by next Tuesday to prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations. While senior Presidential advisors neither endorsed nor opposed any of the competing plans put forth by Democrats and Republicans, they did stress the President's continuing strong commitment to active-duty military, veterans, and our families.
"VVA maintains, and we hope that Democrat and Republican agree, that caring for veterans is part of the continuing cost of the national defense," said John Rowan, VVA National President. "The President and his advisors seem to understand this. Some in Congress, however, seem less conscious of the sacrifices by current military and by veterans in defense of our nation. There needs to be shared sacrifice. It is not right for millionaires who never served to keep their tax breaks, while disabled veterans' compensation payments are delayed or reduced.
"We want to make it clear," Rowan said, "that VVA will oppose any proposal that cuts benefits to veterans, our dependents, or our survivors. These benefits are earned, earned by service, earned by sacrifice, earned by blood spilled from WWII through the current conflicts. Similarly, we will oppose any cuts to already inadequate compensation for active-duty service members and their families, who continue to sacrifice so much.
"VVA is a non-partisan organization, and our members follow all political persuasions," Rowan said. "However, the ill-advised and serious attempt in the Senate last week to curtail benefits to Vietnam veterans who are ill as a result of exposure to Agent Orange should have convinced all of us that veterans' benefits are in jeopardy.
"We fought for the ideals of America, for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all who come to our shores. We fight, mostly, for our buddies next to us. We didn't leave them behind on the field of battle, and we won't leave them behind here at home. And neither should our elected officials in the corridors of Congress."