Pork kills military tax cut

Please tell me what is wrong with this picture. A bill originates in the House of Representatives in Congress supporting a $482 million tax break for active duty military and reservists. No sooner was this idea turned into legislation than, like bees to honey, lawmakers decided to attach pork barrel spending and tax breaks for selected business interests thus killing the bill.

The bill would have centered on capital-gains tax cuts for military personnel who sell their homes and tax breaks for National Guard and reservists to cover travel expenses related to military training.

So what was the pork barrel spending that killed this bill? Perhaps a new federal highway or maybe a school construction project you might think. Any such thought would be wrong. The real culprits were tax breaks for racetrack owners and horse breeders, companies offering an alternative diesel fuel and a U.S. company making bows and arrows. Yes that’s right. Because of race tracks, diesel fuel and bow and arrows, no additional type of tax break will be provided to our troops. This has to be the best example of the fleecing of America.

When you here about things like this, the word “pathetic” comes to mind. At a time when people’s lives are being turned up side down by deployments and financial hardships, something like this just makes you angry especially when you constantly see members of Congress making floor speeches about how they support the war effort and our troops.

do so with no sense of pride. These amendments added were from members of the GOP. I don’t think it’s necessary to mention who they are because that’s not really relevant but it is important to mention that no one in the Republican leadership said anything about the amendments until they were brought to light by Democrats looking for just these kinds of spending items. I don’t say that to make it sound as though Democrats are superior to Republicans when it comes to taking care of troops. Support for our troops should be a nonpartisan thing even if you don’t support the potential war with Iraq. It is easy, however, to give speeches and wave the flag when it comes to our soldiers and patriotism, but this proof of patriotism comes in the budget and our spending.

If all of this wasn’t enough, another member of Congress, who chairs a committee dealing with administrative issues, directed the congressional cafeterias to change the menu in a sign of protest toward France. From now on French Fries will be called “Freedom Fries” and French Toast will be called “Freedom Toast.” Now that’s what we pay elected officials to do order symbolic changes to a menu. This member of Congress claimed his gesture was meant to symbolically show his support for the troops in the field. As though the French really care for the American people on that matter.

As a morale booster, that might be fine and dandy, but fine and dandy doesn’t help soldiers pay the bills or get the financial assistance they are going to need.

It’s time to stop all of the symbolism and get some real changes done in Congress. There’s no reason why the tax cut for military personnel should have been killed by meaningless business tax breaks. There’s no reason why members of Congress should be wasting their time changing menus while our soldiers, especially enlisted soldiers, are dealing with real world economic issues in their households.

Point blank, Congress should truly support those who are literally supporting freedom on their backs.

Davon Gray works as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and resides in Woodbridge. He can be reached at [email protected]

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