Bush Tries To Impede Reform Of Military Disabilty Plans

Most Americans are unaware of the Bush administration fiasco regarding awarding disability payments to those wounded in action. Prior to the Democrats gaining control of Congress, the Veterans Administration and the Defense Department had unusual methods of evaluating disability ratings. In many cases, wounded officers received higher disability ratings than those given enlisted men. Early this year, Democratic legislators began a complete overhaul of the disability rating system in order to ensure fairness and consistency. Suddenly, just as House and Senate conferees were ready to finalize a bill, the president demanded they halt and allow the VA to make their own revisions. He also wanted VA and Defense Department revisions not subject to review by Congress.

As one lawmaker said in reacting to the Bush request: “This late in the process, it is hard to say why the Bush administration would suddenly be coming up with a new plan unless their purpose was to delay legislation.” Right wing pundits enjoy casting Democrats as failing to “support the troops” but have never uttered a word of complaint about Bush administration failures to have a fair system of evaluating those wounded in combat. Nor have they praised Democratic legislators for stepping in and devising a fair system of evaluation. Exactly, who is “supporting the troops?”