Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Bush to Let Soldier Benefit Lapse

Thanks much to Sukabi for pointing this out, and to NEPAJim for the request to feature it here. This is a story from the New York Daily News about a key benefit to military families in the worst situations, where their soldier has been grievously injured. A key benefit for these folks is a VERY modest per diem that helps support them during their stay visiting their loved one who gave much to defend our country.

So what's happening to this benefit, which also will provide one flight to go see one's wounded serviceman or woman?
Surprise, surprise. A provision making the stipend permanent, Section 632 of HR4200, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005, is languishing in Congress as if it were not a crime to compound the anxieties of wounded heroes.

A House Armed Services Committee spokesman said HR4200 was "in conference" and suggested any current benefits to wounded soldiers would only "technically" expire and "go on as has been." Those who disagree include the Department of Defense, which allowed, "it appears there will be a gap in payment of per diem."

Meanwhile, a nation in a multibillion-dollar war will be saving the $51 a day plus lodging expenses now accorded the mother of 23-year-old Spec. Ken Comstock of the 2nd Battalion, 108th Light Infantry, New York Army National Guard. He is at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, recovering from a head wound he suffered in Iraq. His most recent surgery involved an ear-to-ear incision and shifting tissue to stop drainage from his skull.

No, George Bush is not supporting servicemen and women. And neither are your representatives in this majority Republican Congress. Time to give them a call.