The centerpiece of Republican candidate Will Hurd's challenge to incumbent congressman Pete Gallego is his call for across-the-board, indiscriminate budget cuts. These cuts would be devastating for many Texans, but especially for Texas veterans.
As we've written, Hurd's plan puts many vital services for veterans at risk. These include VA medical care, disability services, and small business loans. In total, there are over 46,000 veterans who live in CD-23 whose access to services would be jeopardized by this part Will Hurd's budget plan.
It turns out there is yet another place Will Hurd's budget would cut support for veterans–education support provided through the GI bill. This program is used by 30% of veterans nationwide, including tens of thousands of Texans, and it would be endangered if Will Hurd's budget succeeded.
Meanwhile, Pete Gallego spent this week once again showing his commitment to helping Texas veterans as two of his proposals for VA reform were incorporated into the final version of a bill agreed upon by the House and Senate.
Watch Pete Gallego stand up for veterans on the House floor after the jump.The two proposals that Gallego argued for on the House floor that made it into the bill were “adding or expanding VA health care facilities throughout the country and hiring additional health care professionals at VA health care facilities.” The specific provisions of the bill include:
-27 new or expanded VA facilities
- More doctors, nurses, health care providers and support staff
- Private care for veterans residing more than 40 miles from a VA facility
- Private care for veterans waiting over 30 days for an appointment
- Provides $10 billion for newly-established “Veterans Choice Fund” to cover the costs of increased access to private care
In a statement, Gallego celebrated the passage of the new support for VA healthcare:
“As I said on the floor, taking care of our veterans – our war heroes – is not a partisan issue; it took pressure, but Congress is finally taking action. The compromise centers on veterans, not on politics. For weeks, I've pushed for an agreement between the House and Senate. I knew what had to be done because I hear, see and feel firsthand the challenges the VA faces from the more than 50,000 veterans I represent and the active duty personnel I work with while on the House Armed Services Committee.”
Gallego's dedication to improving veterans' quality of life stands in sharp contrast to Will Hurd's disregard for their service. As David Bergstein of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committe stated:
“From the GI Bill to lifesaving medical care, each day brings a new disturbing example of how Will Hurd's dangerous plan would jeopardize vital services that Texas veterans have earned.Instead of rooting out waste or closing tax loopholes abused by the ultra-wealthy, Hurd's reckless budget plan is to make veterans and their families pay more – which is just the latest sign that Hurd's dysfunctional politics are out of touch with West Texas' values.“
You can watch Pete Gallego standing up for veterans' healthcare on the House floor below:
Once again, the contrast could not be clearer. Only one candidate has demonstrated a continued commitment to honoring those who have served our country by providing the services they need–and that is Pete Gallego.