New Mexico’s lone Tea Party congressman, Steve Pearce, was outraged when his votes to shutdown the government resulted in the closing of the WWII Memorial in Washington, DC. He fired off a nasty statement blaming President Obama for turning away veterans from their memorial that he voted to defund.
Fast forward a few months and Pearce has hit veterans again, this time in their own pocketbooks but he’s not expressing any outrage over their suffering.
On January 1, an estimated 1.3 million Americans lost unemployment benefits thanks to a Tea Party-led effort to cut off the long-term unemployed (generally looking for work 6 months or longer) from emergency benefits. At least 5,400 New Mexican families were immediately affected, and at least twice that could find their current benefits expiring in the coming months.
But among those losing benefits are veterans, including many returning post-9/11 combat veterans, whose benefits expired as well.
A bi-partisan Congressional committee reports that New Mexico has 85,000 veterans in the state workforce – 20,000 of those veterans of post 9/11 conflicts. 3.1% of veterans are estimated to be among the long-term unemployed (looking for work for 6 months or greater) (US Senate Joint Economic Committee Report, May 2013)
A little ‘back of the envelope’ math tells us that the Republican-led cancellation of long-term unemployment assistance for Americans looking for work in the economy they screwed up impacted 2,635 New Mexico veterans actively looking for work among the 5,400 families who lost their sole means of support on January 1 – including 620 post-9/11 returning combat veterans.
Classy, Steve. Very classy.