The November 16 Bath Town Hall meeting had an interesting exchange between Rep. Tom Reed, and a Veteran.
The Veteran questioned why Rep. Reed wrote a letter of support for a $17 million project that would create between round 30 apartments for homeless Veterans and Civilians. The Veterans have been out of the service for 20 to 30 years, and many of them have a criminal record. A criteria for these apartments is that needed to be in and out of drug rehab treatments for at least three times.
His points were: (1) the cost ($17 million) is a lot of money and would go a long ways to help thousands of soldiers coming back from the Iraq and Afghanistan with disabilities and ptws(?). (2) the clients will be both Veterans and Civilians and (3) Veteran facilities are being used by a private corporation.
The Veteran, Robert Yott from Bath, is a ‘friend’ of the New NY 23rd blog, and has written more about this project and his concerns that will be posted tomorrow, December 2.
When asked why he supported this project, Rep. Reed said the following:
“Because they are veterans. Veterans are being serviced by this project and I stand with veterans, especially when they are going through hard times like that.
When it comes to Veteran Spending, just as long we are clear as to where I come down– I am committed to the veterans, 100%.
I believe that servicing our vets, and giving them the tools, that they need, when they sacrificed as much as they sacrificed for all of us, that we stand with them. Not only when they are deployed, but when they come home. I am the son of a military veteran. I am making a firm commintment to the veterans. I am honoring that commitment as long as I am in public office.”
Voted To Make it Harder for Seniors and Veterans to Get Benefits
In 2011, Reed voted for an amendment that would make it harder for low-income veterans and Social Security recipients to retain counsel in a civil action against the United States, like when fighting for benefits.
The Lummis amendment imposed a seven-month moratorium on all legal fees paid under the Equal Access to Justice Act, a Reagan-era law designed to help people afford an attorney while suing the government.
“We’re in the middle of two wars right now and to make it harder for a veteran — fighting for his benefits — to have an attorney is a horrible thing. That’s not what this country is about,” Robert Chishold, a prominent veterans’ law attorney said. [Politico, 2/23/11]
The amendment passed, 232-197. [HR 1, Lummis amendment #195, Vote #85, 2/17/11]
Voted to Shut Down Emergency Mortgage Relief Program
In 2011, Reed voted to shut down a program that provided emergency loans to unemployed homeowners facing foreclosure. The legislation would end the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program and rescind the unobligated funds.
The White House said it would veto the bill, saying that the program was needed to spur a housing recovery. The White House argued that that the loan assistance could help as many as 30,000 distressed homeowners. The CBO estimated that the program would cost $840 million over 10 years. [CQ Today, 3/11/11]
The bill passed, 242-177. [HR 836, Vote #174, 3/11/11]
Voted Against Even Protecting Veterans and Active Service Members
Before considering terminating the emergency relief program, Reed voted against a measure that would have protected veterans and active service members from foreclosures.
The measure required the Secretary of HUD in consultation with the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs, to determine the amount necessary to provide assistance under the Emergency Housing Act of 1975 to homeowners who are veterans or members of the Armed Forces on active duty. It would also authorize Congress to appropriate this amount of assistance to veterans and members of the Armed Forces on active duty under the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program.
The motion failed, 182-238. [HR 836, Vote #173, 3/11/11]
Voted Against Millions in Additional Funding for Suicide Prevention and PTSD for Veterans
In 2011, Reed voted against a motion which would have provided an additional $20 million for veterans’ medical service to help with post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide prevention.
According to the Watertown Daily Times, “Rep. Bill Owens offered an amendment to a military appropriations bill in the House of Representatives that would increase spending on veterans’ mental health services by $20 million.” The $20 million would be put towards better advertising the suicide prevention assistance and services offered to veterans. [Watertown Daily Times, 6/14/11; CQ Floor Vote, 6/14/11]
The motion failed 184-234. [HR 2055, Vote #417, 6/14/11]
Voted Against Protecting Veterans and Student Loans in Budget Reform
In February 2012, Reed voted against a motion that would add an amendment that would exempt loans for students or veterans from appearing more expensive for budget purposes due to changes in the underlying bill.
The bill would require all federal agencies to make public the budgetary justification materials prepared in support of their requests for funding. [Deseret Morning News, 12/07/11]
The motion failed 190-238. [HR 3581, Vote #41, 2/07/12]
Opposed Protecting Students, Workers and Veterans from Budget Cuts
In February 2012, Reed voted against a motion to recommit the Republican Baseline Hard Freeze Act that would require the Congressional Budget Office to maintain current funding levels for Pell Grants, education programs, health and all discretionary spending that provide benefits for seniors, job health and all discretionary spending that provides benefits to veterans and health research.
The motion to recommit failed, 177-238. [HR 3578, Vote #31, 2/03/12]
Voted Against Exempting Properties and Services Helping Veterans from Consolidation, Cuts
In February 2012, Reed voted against exempting certain properties owned by the Veterans Affairs Department or used to provide veterans’ services from consideration for cuts by the newly established Civilian Property Realignment Commission. The Commission was set up to make recommendations to the President about federal properties to be consolidated, sold, exchanged or redeveloped.
The motion was rejected 186-238. [H.R. 1734, Vote #37, 2/07/12]
Voted Against Increased Funding for the Yellow Ribbon Program
by $200 million
In 2011, Reed voted against a motion which increased funding for the Yellow Ribbon Program by $200 million.
The motion increased funding for the Yellow Ribbon Program by $200 million dollars. “The Yellow Ribbon Program is a Department of Defense-wide effort to support National Guard and Reserve service member families with information on benefits and referrals before, during, and after deployments.” [Yellow Ribbon Program, Accessed 9/29/11]
The motion failed 188-234. [HR 2219, Vote #531
Voted Against $28.3 Million for Veteran’s Medical and
Prosthetic Research and Development
In May 2012, Reed voted against increased funding for medical and prosthetic research and development by $28.3 million.
The bill would have reduced the amount provided for the Defense Base Closure Account by $56.7 million and used $28.3 million to invest in veteran’s health and prosthetic research and development. [CQ, House Roll Call Vote 304, 5/31/12; Congressional Record, H3358, 5/31/12]
The motion failed, 188-230. [HR 5854, Vote #304, 5/31/12]
Veterans and Civilians alike should realize that ACTIONS (votes) speak louder that WORDS (campaigning).