Jul 27, 2012
FACT CHECK: Congressman Scott Rigell Claims to Support Veterans’ Benefits
Despite Congressman Scott Rigell’s (VA-02) false claims that he has “been leading from day one” on veterans’ issues, Congressman Rigell has voted against increasing funding for veterans’ mental health services and critical assistance for homeless veterans.
Although there are over 800,000 veterans in Virginia, Congressman Rigell has voted to slash $75 million in assistance that could assist 76,000 homeless veterans. In addition, Congressman Rigell has voted against support for veteran’s mental health services and blocked a program to help active service members who are victims of foreclosure.
“Born again moderate” Scott Rigell continues to say one thing to Hampton Roads voters in hopes that they will ignore his actual extreme voting record in Washington that has put millionaires and big corporations over hardworking Virginia families, seniors and veterans.
Congressman Rigell Voted Against Millions in Suicide Prevention and PTSD Funding for Veterans. In 2011, Congressman Rigell voted against a motion “that would increase spending on veterans’ mental health services by $20 million.” The $20 million would be directed at better advertising the suicide prevention assistance and services offered to veterans. [Watertown Daily Times, 6/14/11; CQ Floor Vote, 6/14/11; HR 2055, Vote #417, 6/14/11]
Congressman Rigell Voted to Slash Homeless Veterans’ Assistance. Congressman Rigell voted for a spending bill that would have eliminated $75 million slated to house homeless Veterans. According to CNN, the cuts would have hurt some 11,000 homeless veterans who qualified for housing in 2011 but had not received vouchers. [HR 1, Vote # 147, 2/19/11; CNN, 3/1/11]
Over 130,000 Veterans Experience Homelessness Annually. Roughly 136,000 veterans experience homelessness annually. The Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) estimate that nearly 76,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. [Department of Veterans Affairs, 2/10/11]
Congressman Rigell Voted Against Increasing Funding for Homeless Veterans. Congressman Rigell voted against increasing funding for veteran rental voucher assistance by $75 million and reduce HUD Management and Administration and Program Office Salaries & Expenses accounts by $86,100,000. The motion would also reduce the deficit by $11,100,000. [HR 5972, Vote #449 , 6/29/12]
Congressman Rigell Opposed Program for Veterans and Active Services Members Who Are Victims of Foreclosure. Congressman Rigell opposed a measure that would have preserved the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program for members of the armed forces, veterans, and Gold Star recipients such as widows, parents, or next of kin. [HR 836, Vote #173, 3/11/11; CQ Floor Votes, 3/11/11]
Rigell Voted to Make it Harder For Low-Income Veterans to Get Benefits. “Taking aim at environmentalists last week, House Republicans dropped a round instead on low-income veterans and Social Security recipients, making it harder for them to retain counsel when taking on the government [...] the budget amendment imposes a seven-month moratorium on all legal fees paid under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), a Reagan-era law designed to help the little guy battle Washington by making it easier for him to afford an attorney.” [Politico, 2/23/11; HR 1, Vote #85, 2/17/11]
Over 800,000 Veterans in Virginia. As of 2010, there were 822,300 veterans in Virginia. [Department of Veterans Affairs, 9/30/10]