In an op-ed published yesterday in the Charlotte Post, combat veteran Willie Fleming called out Republican lawmakers, including U.S. Senate candidate Ted Budd, for using the debt ceiling as a political football and leaving veterans and military families out to dry, saying: “Republican lawmakers, including U.S. Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, are threatening North Carolina’s veteran and military families’ benefits through their refusal to raise the debt ceiling – putting their hypocrisy on full display along the way.”
Charlotte Post: Republican lawmakers play politics with North Carolina veterans’ benefits
- From Fort Bragg to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is proud to be the home of many of our country’s service members, veterans and military families.
- Fort Bragg is the largest military base in the United States and the home to approximately 57,000 service members. Camp Lejeune and the surrounding community is home to roughly 170,000 people, comprising an “active duty, dependent, retiree and civilian employee population.” Overall, North Carolina has the fifth largest military presence in the country and is the home to 100,000 active duty military personnel in addition to roughly 725,000 military veterans.
- As a combat veteran who served in the military from 1971 to 1973 in Vietnam and Cambodia, I know firsthand how much active-duty service members in addition to veterans and military families have sacrificed in the service of defending our country and saving peoples’ lives. Veterans’ benefits are therefore not only earned but critical to supporting the men and women in uniform and their families who put everything on the line to keep us safe.
- Republican lawmakers, including U.S. Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, are threatening North Carolina’s veteran and military families’ benefits through their refusal to raise the debt ceiling – putting their hypocrisy on full display along the way.
- Despite Republicans, accruing nearly $8 trillion in bills under President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was adamantly against the United States defaulting on debt just two years ago in 2019. But now that there’s a Democratic president, McConnell is using the debt limit as a political football.
- If Republicans get their way, it could send our recovering economy into a tailspin, cost six million American jobs, jeopardize Social Security payments, and delay our service members from getting paid.
- This is personal – for me and the countless veterans and military families across North Carolina. That’s why we deserve to know where the other Republican U.S. Senate candidates stand. Ted Budd’s refusal to suspend or raise the debt ceiling and instead risk the recovering economy and needed services for people across North Carolina is insulting, and if Pat McCrory and Mark Walker fail to speak out against him, they are sending a clear message to North Carolina veterans and military families. We deserve a Senator that will stand up for us, not one who will cave to partisan pressures when the going gets tough.
- While this might be all a game for Republicans in Washington, it’s toying with North Carolina’s veterans and military families’ livelihoods. Not only do these benefits help to provide health care, financial assistance and other critical programs to veterans – they serve as acknowledgement of our nation’s debt of gratitude for how much our country’s men and women in uniform give up to protect us all.
- Enough with the political games. President Biden has outlined what’s at stake for the country if Republicans continue to block Democratic efforts to address the debt limit and avoid economic catastrophe. Working families’ savings and pocketbooks, including North Carolina’s veteran and military families’ benefits, could be directly impacted by this Republican stunt. Playing politics with people’s lives – especially those who have given us so much – is wrong, immoral and unpatriotic.
Washington Republicans are on the hook for their reckless obstruction. As The Hill reported this week, “state Democratic parties have gone on the offensive” in calling out the GOP: “North Carolina Republicans like Ted Budd need to drop the political games and do their job to protect our economy and the well-being of North Carolina families and troops.”