From: Richard Buckner
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2003 1:36 PM
Subject: Re: SENATOR BILL FRIST-TN-R, Frist says veterans may need to sacrifice if U.S. goes to war with Iraq
 

Senator Frist,
 
Quote "But he later told reporters that the costs of the Iraq war would mean "we all have to sacrifice in various ways as we likely engage in military conflict, which we could not have anticipated a year ago, which is not fully budgeted and which ultimately will have to compete with what many of us want. "It applies to me in terms of domestic priorities and it applies to groups like the veterans today as they lobby," Frist said. " Unquote
 
As the Senate Majority Leader I would assume that in the event of a War you would lead the delegation in reducing your wages and benefit package. I applaud your unselfish act in considering such a noble gesture and carrying it out. However, until such time that you do I am afraid we will have to add you the the growing list of WALL OF SHAMERS on our Information Portal for the comment you made in regards to Veterans Having To Sacrifice If A War Erupts statement you made. Our site was visited over 200,000 times last month (separate individuals number over 200,000 alone). And many of them were extremely disenchanted by your callous statement. It appears that the politicians have lost sight of the picture. And that picture is the people of the U.S. and Mr. Frist we veterans are a large contingent of those people. We, our spouses, our children and our children's spouses will remember these statements on Election Day Sir. Also please remove me from your Republican Spam Email you have sent us. Since we did not OPT-IN this email we receive from the RNC would be considered SPAM under current federal laws. The shame of it is I am (was) a Republican. But I believe my former Party has lost sight of reality.
 
Richard E. Buckner
THE VETERANS INFORMATION PORTAL
WWW.THE-MID-WEST-WEB.COM
Frist says vets may need to sacrifice if U.S. goes to war with Iraq Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist pledged Tuesday to support veterans concerned about President Bush's health care proposals, but also said veterans and others will have to make sacrifices should the nation go to war with Iraq.
 
The Tennessee Republican told the American Legion that as a physician who served in veterans' hospitals, he had a richer understanding of the importance of their health care issues.
 
But he later told reporters that the costs of the Iraq war would mean "we all have to sacrifice in various ways as we likely engage in military conflict, which we could not have anticipated a year ago, which is not fully budgeted and which ultimately will have to compete with what many of us want.
 
"It applies to me in terms of domestic priorities and it applies to groups like the veterans today as they lobby," Frist said.
 
Frist was among a line of congressional members that spoke at the American Legion's annual legislative conference in Washington. This year the veterans' top priority is to defeat proposals in Bush's 2004 budget request for Veterans Affairs.
 
Bush proposed a 7.7 percent increase, to $27.5 billion, for veterans' medical care in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. But the budget request also proposed fee increases and limits on access, which are unpopular with veterans and have been rejected by the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
 
Bush's budget also proposed charging veterans who earn about $24,000 a year or more an annual enrollment fee of $250. And it proposed increasing copayments for higher-income patients, from $15 to $20 for outpatient primary care and $7 to $15 for prescription drugs.
 
Korean War veteran John Curran of Plymouth, Mass., told reporters that veterans should not be asked to make more sacrifices.
 
"They already did, when they gave up their families and left their families and went overseas whether they were in support or behind the lines," Curran said.
 
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., suggested Bush's proposed tax cuts were the reason for the curtailments in veterans' health care.
 
"Most of us support certain tax cuts, but not if they come at the expense of everyone and everything else that matters. Not if they bury our children and grandchildren in debt and not if they force us to break our promise to the men and women who served this nation in uniform," Daschle said.
 
He said the amount of money spent on vet care should be tied to the size of enrollment.
 
The House Veterans Affairs Committee last month rejected the Bush budget proposals and recommended Congress spend $29.7 billion for veterans' medical care. The measures also were heavily criticized in a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing.
 
Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi said an increase in the veterans health care budget in the amount proposed by the House committee would help meet costs that would have been covered with the fee increases and enrollment fee.
 
"Congress has to make some decisions. If they don't care for my policy changes then the choices are clear, either appropriate additional funding or I will have to cut back further on who I provide care to," Principi said.