After the false ad the Koch brothers released last week attacking CD-23 Congressman Pete Gallego's record on veterans issues, details came to light on how Gallego's opponent, Republican Will Hurd, has a budget plan that would decimate services for veterans.
Will Hurd's budget plan calls for indiscriminate cuts of 16% across the board, including for veterans' services. The list of services that would be harmed by Hurd's plan is immense, from medical care to career counseling.
In total, there are over 46,000 veterans in CD-23 who have served this country but would have their access to services like disability compensation and housing assistance slashed by Will Hurd's budget plan.
Read what services would be cut, and watch Pete Gallego's response, after the jump.The most immediate service that would be cut by Will Hurd's budget is veterans' medical services. In 2013, over 12,000 veterans in the 23rd District received medical care. This life-saving care would be put at risk by Hurd's plan to slash the budget indiscriminately.
Hurd's budget also puts services like education, career counseling, and housing assistance at risk. These programs help veterans get back on their feet after they return home, and play an important role in helping them reintegrate into civilian life. CD-23 received $34 million in 2013 for Education & Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment programs. As a whole, Texas received $3 million for job training grants for homeless veterans, and $6.7 million for Supportive Services for Veteran Families that prevent homelessness among veterans. With Will Hurd's indiscriminate budget cuts, assistance that keeps veterans employed and off the streets will be put in jeopardy.
Other grants to support veterans' programs will also be put at risk. The Small Business Administration's Office of Veterans Business Development provides veterans with assistance to start small businesses, like grants and loans. The Department of Transportation also gives grants to veterans, “”to help veterans, military families, and others connect to jobs and services in their communities by improving access to local transportation options.” Both of these would see cuts if Hurd's plan went into effect.
Hurd's plan will even cut funding for services related to disability and service-related death. In 2013, CD-23 received $206 million for “disabilities, compensation for service connected deaths, pensions, burial and other benefits.” With indiscriminate budget cuts, that number would decrease, leaving those who have been disabled or died serving their country without benefits from the government.
David Bergstein of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee commented on how Hurd's plan is dangerous for the 23rd District's veterans:
“The facts are that Will Hurd's dangerous plan would jeopardize vital services – from medical care to pensions – that Texas veterans and their families have earned and deserve. Instead of closing tax loopholes abused by the ultra-wealthy and corporations that ship jobs overseas, Hurd would balance the budgets on the backs of Texas veterans – which is just another sign that Hurd is out of touch with West Texas families.”
Last week, Rep. Pete Gallego launched his “Stand with Texas Veterans” campaign to highlight his exemplary record on veterans' issues. Said Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Will Hailer:
“Congressman Gallego has a lengthy record of advocacy for veterans, meanwhile his opponent has no plan to solve the crisis at the Department of Veterans Affairs and hides behind deliberately misleading attack ads on TV. Texas Democrats are proud to support Congressman Gallego's efforts in 'Stand With Texas Veterans'”
Yesterday, Pete Gallego launched the first ad from the “Stand with Texas Veterans” campaign, which features testimony from those who have served. You can see it below:
Given the facts, the choice for veterans in CD-23 is clear. Pete Gallego has stood up for veterans in his district, and will continue doing so in the future.