Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

JWV Condemns the Removal of Congressman Chris Smith from the Chairmanship of the House Veterans

Winter 2005

The Jewish War Veterans of the USA (JWV) is appalled that House Republican leaders have unceremoniously dumped Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) as chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee in violation of their own rules. Their campaign rhetoric glorified the Veteran; their actions, once more, give lie to their true intentions to dismiss their obligation to those who served this nation. Chairman Smith has been one of the most effective and eloquent proponents of the rights of the American veteran to receive those benefits earned through front-line service to our country. He is the prime sponsor of seven new laws to provide new and expanded services and benefits to our veterans. He has been the key house member in leading the fight for mandatory funding for veterans. The JWV agrees with a recent assessment of Congressman Smith by the Washington Post, which has called him "the kind of person a voter would want to have in Congress -- seemingly incorruptible, principled, unimpressed by the trappings of power, concerned for the underdog, and the hardworking." According to the rules of the House Republicans themselves, Smith should have another two years to serve as Chairman of the Committee. He is being replaced by the representative who ranks fourth in seniority on the committee, clearly sending the message to the veterans of today and those who are currently serving and are the veterans of tomorrow that loyalty to the political cabal is more important than the principles of serving those who have themselves served their country. During the recently passed political campaign season, veterans were prominently displayed at campaign rallies and media events of both political parties. Their service to their country was praised and their votes were assiduously courted with promises to care for their needs. Now that the omnipotent victor has won the election, one of his first acts is to dump a representative who has truly represented the needs of all veterans. The message that is sent to all veterans, present and future, is that when their votes are no longer needed, their needs are no longer important. How crass is the saying that to the victor belong the spoils—that truth in advertising is a sham when applied to politics. The needs of our veterans should not be a cause for partisan politics. Our veterans have served all of us. Their needs are our needs. Loyalty to Party concerns is not what should determine their ability to receive those rights and benefits that they have earned. Congressman Chris Smith has been a true friend to our veterans. He deserved the right to continue to serve us all.

 

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