Congress must spare veterans benefits

Your recent article neglected to mention that the billions in budget cuts proposed by "sequestration" threaten to raise health care premiums and cuts benefit cuts for veterans ("Federal contractor? Brace yourself," Sept. 29). Young veterans recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan would be hit hardest — they depend on health care, as 50 percent have claimed some kind of disability and nearly 30 percent are unemployed, making them less able to pay higher health care costs.

Instead of raiding veterans' programs and benefits, leaders in Washington need to find money elsewhere. That could mean eliminating tax loopholes or cutting wasteful programs with out-of-control budgets — like the Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter whose budget has ballooned to more than $1 trillion (75 percent larger than expected).

These aren't politically popular decisions, but they're morally courageous considering veterans' benefits are on the line. And this election year, voters want to elect leaders with a true moral compass.

Anthony T. Hawkins, Washington, D.C.

The writer is national coordinator for the Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust.

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