New Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Not A Vet, Still Committed
Bernie Sanders started his political career in 1971 by joining Vermont’s Liberty Union Party in protest of the Vietnam War. Senator Sanders has never served in the military, and has, in fact, voiced strong anti-war sentiments throughout his career.
This might make him seem like a curious choice for chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. However, when Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) recently vacated the chairman post for the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Sanders requested and quickly received the appointment. Leaders in the veterans’ advocacy community seem to be in agreement that, even without a personal history in the military, he’s proving to be extremely dedicated to making things better for America’s vets.
Said executive director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Bob Wallace, “He’s very passionate about the issues. I think he’s going to be very good for veterans.”
Senator Sanders has a history of opposing increases on defense spending, and he was extremely vocal in protesting the war in Iraq. But he describes his strong anti-war stance as an asset to veteran advocacy. “What most people don’t understand is the high cost of war,” he explains. “When we send people to war, we have to understand that it’s not just the guns and planes and ammunition. It means taking care of the people who come back.”
Senator Sanders took part in a demonstration on April 9 to protest a proposed change to the annual cost-of-living calculations for millions of veterans receiving disability benefits.
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