Baldwin Fights for Wisconsin Veterans

Today, Tammy Baldwin addressed Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Wisconsin members at their 2012 Fall Conference in Appleton, while Tommy Thompson continued his desperate campaign of negative attacks and running from the media.

In August, Baldwin’s campaign launched “Veterans for Tammy,” a network of Wisconsin veterans committed to electing Baldwin to the U.S. Senate this November. This grassroots coalition of veterans will serve as a resource for other veterans to learn more about Baldwin and her campaign and will lead discussions about the issues that matter most to veterans throughout Wisconsin.

“Tammy is committed to keeping the sacred trust we hold with members of our nation’s military,” said Veterans for Tammy Co-Chair, Anthony Hardie.  “She has fought to expand and improve care and benefits for Wisconsin veterans and their families and will continue fighting as our next U.S. Senator.”

Baldwin’s opponent Tommy Thompson has proposed a $6.48 billion cut to veterans’ benefits and services at a time when veterans are returning from two wars. Thompson’s budget plan would call for a five percent across the board cut to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.  According to a table published by the Office of Management and Budget, the estimated spending on veterans’ benefits and services for fiscal year 2012 was $129 billion dollars. A five percent cut from that figure would mean $6.48 billion in cuts. [White House Office of Management and Budget Historical Table 3.2: Outlays by Function and Subfunction]

Thompson supports extending budget-busting tax cuts for the top 2 percent and cutting taxes for millionaires like himself by $265,000, while raising taxes on the middle class and cutting veterans benefits.

Wisconsin is home to nearly 400,000 veterans. Baldwin has strong records of standing up for those returning home from war. Baldwin has passed and supported legislation to support outreach, rehabilitation, vocational counseling, and transitional housing for those veterans who need these important services.

When Tammy learned of a flaw in our Veterans Affairs system that left some blinded veterans unable to claim disability compensation, she went to work to correct this mistake.  In 2002, she introduced the Dr. James Allen Disabled Veterans Equity Act. After 7 years of fighting Washington gridlock, and with the help of a bipartisan coalition, the legislation passed and was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007. Thompson is a former cabinet secretary for Bush.

After speaking with a Wisconsin veteran, Baldwin introduced the Veterans Jobs Act to involve local community business leaders in an additional effort to help returning service members find jobs in the private sector. She was also a strong supporter of President Obama’s Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which gives businesses that hire unemployed veterans a credit of up to $5,600 per veteran, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit, which gives businesses that hire veterans with service-related disabilities a credit of up to $9,600 per veteran. Tammy support for the VOW to Hire Heroes Act also expands veterans’ training and education, and helps guide them through the often burdensome federal jobs application process.

Baldwin supported the Post 9/11 GI Bill Of Rights for the 21st Century, the largest expansion of veterans’ education benefits since the enactment of the original GI Bill in 1944. The new program increases aid, tuition, books, and housing to military service members, reservists, and National Guard members who served on active duty after September 10, 2001. Many Wisconsin veterans, and some of their dependents, are benefiting from the educational assistance programs offered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

This year, Baldwin introduced the Make Our Veterans Smile Act. This legislation would expand dental coverage to all veterans enrolled with the VA who have received a Purple Heart. Her visits with wounded Wisconsin warriors at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, DC and Ramstein AFB, Germany, have given her not only the opportunity to thank them in person for their service, but to better understand the difficulties they face moving forward. Tammy remains deeply concerned about the increase in suicides among our troops and veterans and believes we must respond more effectively with investments in mental health care.

Wisconsinites can also connect with the campaign on facebook.com/TammyBaldwin, and on Twitter @TammyBaldwinWi.