U.P. Veterans Protest Ryan Budget Bill

More than two dozen people showed up with signs and American flags in front of the Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette. They were there to protest the federal budget proposal from House Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

The protesters had one message, and for one person — they wanted Congressman Dan Benishek to vote ‘no’ when it comes to taking money from resources for veterans.

Retired Coast Guard veteran Ted Martin says he’d like Benishek to say publicly that he’d vote ‘no’ on the Ryan budget, but if Benishek does vote for it, he’d like Benishek to suggest amendments to it so that it wouldn’t affect the V.A.

In 2006, Army veteran Derek Gagne lost the hearing in his left ear in a mortar explosion in Iraq. Then in 2007, he was severely hurt by a roadside bomb that killed two other people. Gagne lost his sight in one eye, his right leg below his knee and the toes on his left foot, among many other injuries. He says the V.A. is basically an everyday part of life for him, as he has to go through them for prosthetics, medications and the blood thinners he’s taking.

There were also protests in front of the Oscar Johnson V.A. Medical Center in Iron Mountain.

The office of First District Congressman, and Physician, Dan Benishek issued the following statement in response to the protest:

“As a doctor who worked in a VA Hospital for 20 years, Dr. Benishek is intimately aware of the concerns of Northern Michigan’s veterans. The claim that the House Budget Plan reduces spending for veterans is factually incorrect—the plan supported by Dr. Benishek actually increases spending for veterans by 4.3%. Making comparisons to the self-scored Obama Administration’s budget plan, which didn’t receive a single vote of support in the House, is meaningless. As Michigan’s sole member of Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Dr. Benishek is committed to ensuring Northern Michigan’s veterans receive the benefits they deserve.”

Posted by: Mike Hoey

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