Weekend open thread: Veterans Day do's and don'ts

Thanking a veteran is easy. Tackling problems that face veterans is hard.

At no time is that political reality more apparent than on the 11th day of the 11th month.

The usual expressions of respect and gratitude can be found in the latest batch of Veterans Day tweets by Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Representatives Rod Blum (R, IA-01), Dave Loebsack (D, IA-02), David Young (R, IA-03), and Steve King (R, IA-04).

After the jump I’ve posted some concrete ways members of Congress could show they care about veterans. This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

DO: Insist on adequate funding for Medicaid, through which an estimated 1.75 million veterans nationwide receive their health care (many don’t qualify for or can’t access services through the Veterans Affairs Department).

DO: Support more funding for substance abuse treatment programs. As Barbara Goldberg reported this week for Reuters, “Opioid drug abuse has killed more Americans than the Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam wars combined.”

DO: Spread the word about resources that can help veterans with PTSD and/or suicidal thoughts. It’s a national disgrace that an estimated 20 veterans take their own lives every day.

DO: Support adequate funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps). According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Almost 1.5 million veterans live in households that participate in SNAP.”

DON’T: Pass a tax plan that ends the Work Opportunity Tax Credit or eliminates the break for out-of-pocket medical expenses or reduces other deductions and credits used by many veterans.

DON’T: Prevent transgender Americans like Iowan Jack Schuler (a Marine Corps veteran who serves in the U.S. Army Reserve) from serving their country or accessing essential health care.

DON’T: Support policies that allow veterans to be deported for minor offenses.

DON’T: Use veterans to lobby for changing a law designed to help 9/11 families and survivors, especially without telling them the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is footing the bill.

DON’T: Pretend to support veterans by mischaracterizing acts of political protest against institutional racism.

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