By Paul Gable
Russell Fry was one of the 217 Republican House members who voted to pass the “Limit, Save, Grow” Act Wednesday as part of the Republican answer to raising the U. S. debt limit ceiling. In doing so, Fry and the other 216 Republicans voting to pass the bill also voted to cut benefits for veterans by 22% over the next 10 years.
If the bill becomes law in the current version, spending on veterans benefits will be capped at the FY 2022 limit and an immediate $2 billion reduction will occur on current fiscal year spending for veterans benefits.
This was entirely predictable for anyone who followed the Fry campaign for Congress last year. Not quite 10 months ago, GSD ran a story about how local disabled veterans who Fry had recruited as a coalition to help with his campaign dumped Fry and gave their allegiance to Ken Richardson. The major reason voiced by these veterans was that Fry wasn’t interested in hearing about their concerns and problems in trying to navigate the bureaucracy of the veterans Administration.
One of the disabled veterans, Keith Brooks, said in that article, “The veterans coalition was a way for Fry to get veterans together to give him talking points. Russell never gave us more than a minute or two to hear our story. You can’t tell Russell anything.”
Brooks added, “Russell is trying to be just another career politician. The last thing we need is another self-absorbed ladder climber.”
But a self-absorbed ladder climber is exactly what the voters of SC 7th Congressional District got when they elected Fry! Fry was never one to take a principled stand for his constituents against the wishes of the leadership of the SC House of Representatives and he will not ever do so in Washington. He is a typical “swamp” politician. With the Mickey Mouse type of campaign Fry ran, the only thing that got him elected was his endorsement by an ill-informed Donald Trump.
Cutting the federal deficit and getting control of the ever-increasing national debt are excellent goals and necessary ones to keep the American economy strong. However, they won’t be accomplished by a couple hours of wrangling to approve some type of rise in the debt limit by the House Rules Committee just weeks ahead of the time limit when the federal government will forfeit on its debt payments if the debt limit is not raised.
It’s taken 42 years for the national debt to rise from just less than $1 trillion to the current nearly $32 trillion. During those 42 years, the national debt rose by an average $750 billion per year every year a Republican president was in office and $667 billion per year every year a Democratic president was in office. Both parties are equally at fault for making America a debt-ridden nation.
Stemming that debt rise will not happen in one bill or one Congress or one presidential term. If the House of Representatives does not begin to get a handle on spending, it will never happen.
The effort to cut spending is a good thing. But doing so partially at the expense of veterans who answered the call when they were ordered to go into harm’s way and, at times, left part of themselves behind in doing so, is despicable. This is not what you expect of true, conservative, patriotic politicians! They love to thank you for your service, but it’s all talk. Those who served in uniform in defense of this country deserve better!
Fry wrapped himself in the flag and tried to portray himself as a patriot while running for office. Of course, he never served himself nor sacrificed in any way to get ahead in politics. He has successfully played the game while proving it’s nothing more than a game to him played for his own self-advancement. How does cutting benefits for veterans, who served and sacrificed in defense of the country, make America great again?