Montana’s Democratic Sen. Jon Tester had a simple message to Rep. Michelle Bachman: He will not “support any plan that pulls the rug out from under veterans.”
Tester sent a letter about the issue to Bachman, who is scheduled to speak Saturday at the Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner in Helena where Rep. Denny Rehberg is expected to announce he will run against Tester in the 2012 election.
Tester, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has worked since elected to increase benefits to veterans.
“I read with interest your online proposal to cut more than $400 billion from the federal budget. Proposals like yours are important to stir the conversations Congress needs to have about the difficult decisions we need to make,” Tester wrote to Bachman. “I speak for many of Montana’s 102,000 veterans in taking exception to your proposal to freeze VA health care funding and cut $4.5 billion in veterans’ benefits.”
Tester wrote that the number of unique patients at VA facilities has grown by 10 percent since he took office, and Congress has increased funding of the Department of Veterans Affairs to “just barely where it needs to be.
“I’m incredibly proud of that record,” Tester added. “I’m also working hard to continue eliminating waste and fraud within the VA. As with all government agencies, we should never stop looking for ways to save money and cut red tape. American taxpayers deserve no less.
“But cutting benefits for the men and women who earned them through military service is a giant step in the wrong direction,” Tester said.