Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Support the Troops! Wednesday, April 13, 2005 “The people fighting the war on terrorism are being asked to tighten their belts to help pay for it. Air Force bases are cutting back on utility bills. Commands are canceling travel or training that doesn’t somehow support the war. And at some fitness centers, people will have to bring their own towel to save on laundry costs. Budget cuts are even hitting small, local businesses that rely on U.S. air bases. Tony Molloy, who owns a news agency in Beck Row near RAF Mildenhall, England, said the base canceled its contract for 316 magazines with weekly TV listings because it has pulled the plug on cable television in billeting.” Stars and Stripes “As the Senate began to debate President Bush's request for more than $80 billion in supplemental military spending on Monday, senators seized a chance to pack pet projects into an unstoppable bill, adding provisions dealing with oil drilling, forest services, a new baseball stadium for Washington and economic assistance to Palestinians. On Monday night, others were seeking to incorporate changes to immigration laws as well. Senator Thad Cochran, the Mississippi Republican who is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, called the draft ‘a straightforward bill’ that ‘meets the needs of our fighting forces overseas" and "addresses emergency requirements here at home.’ His own addition to the spending bill was a measure giving Mississippi control of the mineral rights and the ability to permit certain drilling below the Gulf Islands National Seashore in the Gulf of Mexico. Some environmental groups have opposed the measure.” New York Times “By two 54-46 votes, the Senate blocked efforts Tuesday to add money for veterans’ health care to the 2005 supplemental appropriations bill. Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, both members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, sought to add $1.9 billion to the $80.6 billion wartime emergency supplemental appropriations bill to cover costs of treating returning combat veterans for war-related injuries and to cover shortfalls in funding for VA programs. The Bush administration sought no VA money as part of its supplemental funding request, and none was included in the version of the bill passed by the House in March. Murray, however, said funding for veterans is critical because wounded service members will be seeking treatment from already underfunded facilities.” Marine Corps Times "The Washington Insider reported that the House is expected to vote April 13 on legislation that would permanently repeal the estate tax.” Illinois Farm Bureau “This year, estates worth up to $1.5 million for an individual or worth $3 million for a couple owe no tax. The top tax rate stands at 47 percent. Just before its complete repeal, in 2009, the exemption increases to $3.5 million for an individual or $7 million for a couple. The tax rate falls to 45 percent. In 2004, the government collected $24.8 billion from the estate tax, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. The number of estates that owed tax in 2003 amounted to 1.25 percent of deaths the previous year. Supporters of the tax's elimination argue that any level of tax discriminates against some at the expense of others.” San Francisco Chronicle “As the debate today whether to repeal the estate tax, House members should think about this: Repeal may actually hurt more family farmers and small businesses than it would help. And for many other people with big but not supersized estates, repeal would add cumbersome and costly new reporting requirements -- and could force them to pay more taxes, not less, than they would owe if the tax were frozen at the level it is slated to be in 2009.” Washington Post “The American people have a strong tradition of honoring our war veterans. And Democrats have always led the fight to give our veterans what they deserve for their brave service to our country. We all may not agree with the causes of this current war in Iraq, but we all agree that the brave men and women fighting it, and their families, deserve more than we can ever give them. Now we must focus attention on our veterans and military retirees who have seen the government cut medical benefits, close VA hospitals, double tax disability payments, and more than double prescription drug co-payments, while requiring veterans to pay an annual enrollment fee of $250 to use government health services in the 2006 budget. All of these costs add up to a ‘GI Tax’ on our soldiers and veterans. And it's time to end that ‘GI Tax’ -- once and for all.” Wesley Clark, GEN USA (Ret.) "‘We honor their memory,’" Mr. Bush said in his public remarks. ‘We lift them up in prayer. Their sacrifices will always be remembered by a grateful nation.’” Lieutenant AWOL Can you say "class warfare?" I knew you could.


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