Original Link: http://www.mncampaignreport.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1732
by: Jeff Rosenberg
This is the sixth in a series of weekly articles exposing Norm "W" Coleman's record on the issues. All data in this series comes from CQ Weekly.
Previous articles cover Coleman's record on transportation, transportation security, the environment, education, and employment.
Coleman started his record on veterans by voting AGAINST an amendment that would increase spending on veterans' programs by approximately $1 billion and put the same amount toward deficit reduction. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 74)
He then voted against a proposal that would have made it easier for veterans to return to their jobs. He voted AGAINST an amendment would allow a 50 percent tax credit on the salaries employers pay workers who are in the National Guard or Reserves and have been put on active duty. I would have thought he would at least support veterans if it involved giving a tax cut.
Proving that the richest Americans are more important to him than the troops, Coleman voted AGAINST an amendment that would create a reserve fund that would allow up to $2.7 billion in additional spending for veterans' medical programs. It also would increase the amount dedicated for deficit reduction by $2.7 billion. The spending would be offset by reducing tax breaks for taxpayers with incomes of more than $1 million per year (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 34). I've written previously about the long-term damage Bush and Coleman are doing by putting this war on a credit card instead of asking Americans, even the very wealthiest, to make sacrifices for their country.
Coleman also voted AGAINST a similar amendment to create a reserve fund that would allow up to $1.8 billion in additional spending for veterans' medical programs. The spending would be offset by revenue increases. (SENATE ROLL CALL 40)
Finally in 2004, Coleman voted AGAINST an amendment to authorize an increase in health benefits for veterans by keeping discretionary spending at fiscal 2004 levels. Yes, you read that right: he voted against increasing health benefits for troops who were being wounded every single day. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 145)
More after the break
Jeff Rosenberg :: Coleman's out-of-touch record: veterans
This time, he voted FOR an amendment that would increase funding for veterans health care by $2.8 billion for fiscal 2006 and reduce the deficit by $2.8 billion. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 55) What changed? No idea.
He also voted AGAINST an amendment that would increase funding for veterans' health care by $1.98 billion and designate it as emergency spending. It's really amazing -- President Bush spends billions of dollars on the Iraq war and designates them as emergency spending, and Coleman is willing to look the other way. But on funding for veterans' health, suddenly he's a budget hawk? (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 89)
In what may be the most callous vote he's ever made, he voted AGAINST an amendment which would allow health care funding for veterans to be adjusted to account for changes in population and inflation. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 251)
Finally, he once again chose the wealthy over our soldiers by voting AGAINST an amendment which would provide an additional $500 million per year for the next five years for mental health services for veterans. It would be offset by deferring tax cuts for those making $1 million per year. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 343)
Continuing his trend of voting against veterans' health care, he voted AGAINST four different bills to increase funding for veterans' health care. (SENATE ROLL CALL 7) (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 41) (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 63) (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 111)
At least he voted for one amendment, which would add $430 million for outpatient and inpatient health care and treatment for veterans. Of course, the bill required the president to request the emergency funds in order for it to be spent, and it passed nearly unanimously. But I guess it's better than nothing. (SENATE ROLL CALL 98)
The bottom line: Norm "W" Coleman's record on veterans' issues, particularly healthcare, is horrific. As far as I'm concerned, he loses the right to say he supports the troops. It seems pretty clear to me that the only thing he supports is sending more of them to die in Iraq.