Bachmann and the VA Debacle


I don’t quite know what to make of this.  The Pink Flamingo knows what I think, and it’s not very charitable.  This is a very rambling post – and for good reason.

The Pink Flamingo does not want to come out and say that Bachmann has a problem with factual accuracy, but darn it, she does.  When fact checked, she scores worse than some liberals!

Unfortunately, this is nothing new for her.

Because of this, The Pink Flamingo is not going to take what she says at face value, when it comes to her thwarted plan to cut VA benefits.

The Pink Flamingo found an old article in the Daily Beast.

The Daily Beast

Yes, Virginia, it is true.  Back in January, Michele Bachman floated a plan to cut VA benefits.  Yes, it is true.  Michele Bachmann decided to make draconian libertarian cuts to the VA.

“...Bachmann is one of those opposed to allowing the U.S. to borrow more than $14.3 trillion. “I’m against another increase of the government’s debt ceiling,” she said. “Instead of making it easier for Washington to spend more of your tax dollars, I’m calling for Congress to do the hard work of making real and necessary cuts in federal spending.”

Her list of cuts doesn’t explain the impact of freezing veterans’ health care funding, but the Congressional Budget Office said in a report issued in October that health care costs have been quickly increasing. VA’s health care budget was $44 billion in 2009, $48 billion in 2010 and is at $52 billion this year. The report forecasts a health care budget of $69 billion or higher by 2020 if trends continue, the report estimates.

Bachmann’s idea of cutting costs by reducing veterans’ disability compensation by the amount received in Social Security Disability Income is not new. The proposal, which would affect more than 150,000 veterans, has long been on a list of possible budget options prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, which describes the option as a way to “eliminate duplicate payment of public compensation for a single disability.”

The average SSDI benefit is $12,800 a year, according to CBO

In their annual budget options report, CBO analysts predicted strong opposition from veterans if the two benefits were offset. The report suggests the cost-cutting option would draw less opposition if veterans already receiving both payments were exempt from the change. Having it apply only to future benefits awards would mean about 3,000 veterans a year would be affected.

The two veterans’ program cuts now advocated by Bachman were included in an Oct. 28 report from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, about ways to cut $343 billion in federal spending. The think tank’s report projects that a freeze in VA health care costs would save $2.5 billion.

The report said cutting veterans’ disability compensation for those receiving veterans’ disability income would save $1.9 billion, which is roughly the same savings now claimed by Bachmann.

According to CBO’s estimates, saving $1.9 billion in one year would require applying the change to all veterans receiving both payments. Applying it only to those who become eligible in the future would save only about $40 million in the first year, according to CBO….”

Is this really a story about Michele Bachmann and the VA or the fact that if certain sources don’t cover a story, will the far right believe it?

The Pink Flamingo’s friend and sometimes partner in crime alerted me to this.  I find the whole thing rather fascinating.

Are we dealing with Bachmann being less than honest about an issue.  What she says now and what she said back in January is not quite the same thing.

Bachmann House Site
Minnesota independent

In other words, we are dealing with more libertarian Tea Party back talk.  The Pink Flamingo also went back to an older piece and discovered that Bachmann may have been bullying the men of the GOP into allowing her to get her way, especially on the House Intel Committee.

Free Republic

On her Congressional site now, one finds the following:

“...Veterans Affairs
It is imperative that America’s military men and women receive the support they deserve for the sacrifices they have made. Our members of the Armed Forces have fought to preserve the freedoms we cherish and I believe Congress must be steadfast in honoring our commitment to them.

Last year, I supported the largest increase in funding for veterans programs in theVA’s history: over $37 billion for veterans programs. This legislation also adds more than 1,000 new claims adjusters to help ease the backlog of over 400,000 VA benefits claims. Congress must work to alleviate VA bureaucratic procedures, improve communications between the Department of Defense and the VA and strengthen the process for returning soldiers transitioning into the VA health care system.

I also joined my colleagues in making long-overdue updates and reforms to the Montgomery G.I. Bill that provide expanded educational benefits to veterans and their families. A key component of the reforms is that now for the first time ever, veterans will be able to transfer their G.I. Bill benefits to family members. I was a cosponsor of a bill that allowed these benefits to be transferred to the veteran’s spouse and children. This important reform finally recognizes the sacrifices made not only by our brave soldiers, but also the sacrifices made by their loving families.

I am also committed to increasing accessibility to health care for our veterans who live far away from VA medical centers. I supported passage of the Veterans’ Health Care Improvement Act of 2007 (H.R. 2874) which would provide additional transportation options for veterans in rural areas who must travel long distances to receive care. It would also enhance readjustment counseling and mental health services for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans through peer outreach and support programs.

If you are a veteran or know a veteran, I encourage you to participate in the Veterans History Project, a valuable and important project to preserve and pass on stories of wartime service. Please visit to learn more about the project and how you can contribute….”

Free Republic

On her current Congressional site there is a Feb 2 press release.

Bachmann Congressional Site

The Pink Flamingo tries to be fair, so I went back in time to make sure I had the story correct.  Thank goodness for screen shots.  I did some backtracking and came up with this little ditty.

NY Daily News

“…The 2.1-million member VFW and other vets groups hit back after Bachman proposed $400 billion in federal spending cuts, including $4.5 billion for the Veterans Administration, in her Tea Party Express response to President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Bachmann dialed it back today in a statement from her office:

“Congresswoman Bachmann has not introduced a budget plan and she has not introduced legislation to cut veterans benefits. She merely took a cue from President Obama’s bipartisan Fiscal Commission and put together a list of suggested cuts to open things up for discussion,” the statement said.

And “Congresswoman Bachmann is not advocating for veterans’ benefits to be abolished,” the statement said, but David Gorman of the 1.2-million member Disabled American Veterans was not convinced.

“America’s sick and disabled veterans will not sit idly by while their earned health care and disability benefits are threatened,” said Gorman, executive director of the DAV’s Washington office. “We will raise our voices above the din and call on every member of Congress to reject Rep. Bachmann’s heartless proposal.”…”

What is this all about?

The Pink Flamingo isn’t quite sure.  I do know that Michele Bachmann appears to be attracting the same bots who mindlessly prop up Ron Paul. That alone is notable. First, though, I need to mention that I am not sure what Bachmann was attempting to do by cutting VA benefits.  Well, I think I do.  She’s as anti-war, and anti-military as Ron Paul.  Indeed, she is as much his losertarian heir as is his own pointy-headed son in the Senate.

If this does not sound very civil, The Pink Flamingo is not feeling very civil this evening, while I am writing about the story.  I suspect Bachmann was seriously trying to pander to the Ron Paul Bots of the world, and curry favor with Paul by seriously harming our Vets.  I can’t prove it.  I also can’t prove that she never really owned up to what she was doing.  It sure looks like the hasn’t.  But, then she’s a tea party libertarian.  They are not required to tell the truth.

The bottom line here is I don’t trust this woman.  Like other libertarians, the truth is not in her.  I can’t pin it down, but she’s prone to promoting her own situation in life.   It is all about her.  She is ambitious, which is not a problem.  She’s just not very intellectually honest.

The Daily Beast

“…Bachmann’s post-election maneuvering isn’t particularly surprising; the ultraconservative Minnesotan, who by one estimate appears on national cable once every nine days, is always looking for new ways to get attention. But the response her scheming has received in top GOP circles—a response that would best be described as arctic—suggests that the battle between disgruntled, absolutist Tea Party activists (who want to blow the system up) and their more realistic representatives in Washington (who plan to work within it) is only beginning.

Consider how rank-and-file Republicans have reacted to Bachmann’s recent displays of ambition. As soon as the congresswoman launched her conference-chair campaign, Eric Cantor and Mike Pence—the Indiana pol she would be succeeding in the position—endorsed her rival, Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling. Boehner put Hensarling on the GOP’s transition team, and left Bachmann out. Sarah Palin declined to endorse Bachmann, with whom she campaigned over the summer. And Ryan circulated a letter to lawmakers and recently elected Republicans asking them to support Hensarling over his opponent. After awhile, Bachmann took the hint and bowed out.

But while Bachmann is a genius at rallying the troops—and convincing them to give her their money—she’s never displayed the slightest skill at (or interest in) turning her small-government rhetoric into a reality by, say, proposing or passing significant legislation.

The news that Bachmann was elbowing into the presidential spotlight was greeted much the same way: with sighing, scoffing, and the occasional burst of speculation about what she’s “really up to.” As one National Review commenter perceptively put it, she “know[s] that casual White House talk can help build up some momentum outside of her small, safe House district that she can use to build a Senate campaign. She wants a Senate seat in 2012 or 2014.” Few people, in other words, consider her a credible challenger….”

PoliFact Check

Then again, it’s also a play on the old, if a tree falls in a forest… If a far right demigod attempts to cut VA Benefits, and it is not covered by the Far Right Press, if Rush Limbaugh says nothing about it, did it happen?

Because the far right never covered this atrocious story, did it happen?

Is it possible for Bachmann to get a pass for what she attempted because only the “liberal” media covered it?

If Michele Bachmann were a Dem running for POTUS, she would be demonized by the Right for what she attempted to do.  Because she is a Tea Party “partriot”, she is getting a pass.

Sorry, but that’s not honest.