by Mary Chastain 21 Dec 2013, 5:30 AM PDT
Veterans and conservatives are expressing outrage toward House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The cuts to retired service members’ pensions embedded in the budget deal cut by him and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) elicited an overwhelming surge of social media responses.
Members of the retired armed services community and conservatives across America are swarming Ryan’s social media accounts to express their disgust. Thousands are stepping up to rip Ryan over the deal. For example, one disabled veteran, Nicole Vaccaro Julian, wrote Ryan that his actions have cost him her support. “This disabled vet will no longer support you!” Vaccaro Julian wrote.
Another, retired Air Force veteran Paula Benway Flores, wrote that she hopes Ryan is removed from public office. “I never want to see your face again and hope we can get you out of office quickly,” Benway Flores wrote. “Faking to care about your fellow Americans and backstabbing the very people who give you your freedom. You make me question what I ever fought for and why I sacrificed my life and time away from my family.....Mr Ryan you DISGUST me with your fake integrity."
Mac Cochran, a retired U.S. Army sergeant, wrote that Ryan is not friendly to veterans. “Paul Ryan, you are no friend of the Veteran,” Cochran wrote. “How dare you take money from those that have risked everything to defend this Nation and what it represents...shame on you. Sergeant First Class US Army Retired.”
Retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Justin Maloney wrote that Ryan has “betrayed” him and other veterans. "Paul Ryan, I just stopped liking you. I feel betrayed,” Maloney wrote.
As Breitbart News has reported, Ryan initially claimed that disabled and injured veterans’ pensions would be exempt from the cuts—a claim he then scrubbed from an official House Budget Committee document two days before the House vote on the budget deal last Thursday. Ryan and Murray now call the fact that wounded warriors are not exempt from pension cuts a “mistake,” but Ryan’s scrubbing of that document means two days prior to the House vote on the bill he was already aware of what he now calls a mistake. Nonetheless, he did nothing to try to fix it.
The issue of wounded warrior pensions does not even address the fact that all other veterans will still see their pensions slashed if a House plan offered by Reps. Martha Roby (R-AL) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) does not succeed.
Roby and Fitzpatrick’s plan is a House version of the Senate amendment Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) tried to introduce to the budget deal before its Senate passage, but he was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The plan would replace the slashes to all veterans’ pensions with savings from closing a loophole that allows illegal aliens illicit access to the Refundable Child Tax Credit.
At this point, Ryan has doubled down on cuts to veterans’ pensions—with the exception of disabled and injured veterans—and has not endorsed the Roby-Fitzpatrick-Sessions plan to ensure all retired service members do not receive cuts to their pensions.
Members of the veteran community and conservatives are outraged in response.
Ken Scott, a veteran, called Ryan a “traitor.” He wrote, “You sold us military vets down the road," continuing, "Welfare? Food Stamps? Foreign aid? Politicians' pay and benefit as - those are good places to start! Way to go jerk selling out on the very men [and] women that provide your freedoms! Get your priorities straight!”
Disabled veteran Daniel Leaverton said he is leaving Ryan and the Republican Party behind because of this. “As a disabled vet, I will not longer support you or your party,” Leaverton wrote.
DeeDee Webster said that after having served 20 years in the U.S. military, she is shocked that Ryan would do something like this. "20+ years of service and now we have to rethink our future. Way to back up your military by giving,” Webster wrote to Ryan. “Thanks for stabbing us in the back.”
The Roby-Fitzpatrick House legislation is gaining steam, thanks in large part to the surge in grassroots disgust with what Ryan did to veterans’ pensions. According to the Library of Congress, their bill already has 46 cosponsors, including themselves, less than a day after they introduced it.
While the effects these issues have on the veteran community are of utmost importance, Ryan’s political future and legislative leadership on other issues moving forward are also at stake. Many expressing outrage say they voted for Mitt Romney and Ryan when they ran for president and vice president, respectively, but that they will never vote for Ryan again because of what he did to veterans’ pensions in a bill that increases spending and the federal deficit.
Jay Strong, yet another veteran, said Ryan was “spewing… lies.” He wrote to Ryan, “Shame on your Mr. Ryan for spewing these lies." He added, “You have taken money out of my pocket as a veteran. [You] are like a thief in the night. I served in war and peace and did what I was asked and now You have broken the promise my country has mad!! My the people of your district send you packing!!!"
Luke Harvey, a disabled combat veteran, said Ryan’s actions are an affront to the military. "Disabled Combat Veteran here, you and your cohorts SHAMELESSLY have trodden on the BACKS AND GRAVES of my INFANTRY Brothers and other servicemen/women,” Harvey wrote. “Can i at least know the reason WHY we were betrayed? im sure everyone would LOVE to know what it costs to betray your nation and its people…"
Michael Marasco, another veteran, said Ryan should cut his own pension before cutting military pensions. “Ya giving welfare to illegals while stripping Military Vets & Retirees of their EARNED benefit,” Marasco wrote. “Cut your own pension before you cut ours you filthy pig Paul Ryan.”
Howard Massingill, a disabled retired U.S. Army veteran, said Ryan’s actions are “a despicable disgrace” to the U.S. military. "As a retired and disabled US Army veteran of 26 years, your vote to cut pensions is a despicable disgrace to all the brave men and women that have served this great nation,” Massingill said. “You sir, are a spineless, gutless, coward that never has or never will give or sacrifice to this country what my fellow service members have given. I truly hope your sad, pathetic political career comes to a screeching halt next November.”
Georgia Bronson Becker, the wife of a disabled U.S. Navy veteran who served for 22 years and still helps veterans at the local veterans hospital, said she will not vote for Ryan if he runs for president.
"Obviously YOU NEVER SERVED OUR COUNTRY IN THE MILITARY and you now probably never serve as President either - You lost my vote!” Becker wrote. “I am a wife of a Disabled US NAVY Veteran who served for 22 yrs and still serves our Veterans while working at a Veterans Hospital. You are a disgrace and YOU JUST DON'T CARE!”