As part of his eighth policy rollout ahead of the first primary debate later this week, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke outlined his plan Monday to improve the lives of veterans.
The former congressman from El Paso who served on the House Armed Services Committee and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee called for a “responsible end” to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with half of the savings reinvested into certain programs for veterans; a new Veterans Health Care Trust Fund established at the beginning of each new war to fund veterans’ hospital and medical bills; and a new “war tax” to be deposited into the trust fund.
The war tax would be progressive and levied on households without current members or veterans of the armed forces. The tax, levied at the beginning of a new war, would range from $25 for taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes under $30,000 to $1,000 for those making more than $200,000 per year.
“We must be willing to pay any price, and bear any burden, to provide the full care, support and resources to every single veteran who served every single one of us,” O’Rourke said in a written statement.
O’Rourke’s platform is also heavy on pledges to improve the veterans health care system, with plans to attract more talent to clinics, boost transparency and quality of care and reduce certain inefficiencies within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Additionally, the plan calls for expanded support for veterans and their families when they come home; equal treatment for all veterans, including women and LGBTQ veterans; and a proposal to “restore military service as a pathway to citizenship.”
O’Rourke, who held regular town halls with veterans when he was in Congress, discussed his plan during a veterans roundtable in Tampa, Fla.
The candidate has released a steady stream of policy plans — on climate change, voting rights, LGBTQ rights and other topics — in recent weeks ahead of his scheduled debate appearance Wednesday in Miami.
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