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Bachmann eyes cuts to veterans health benefits

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WASHINGTON – Tea party hero Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) this week proposed a blueprint to eliminate $400 billion from the federal budget, which included billions in cuts to veterans’ health care and disability benefits.

Her plan would freeze health care funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and slash $4.5 billion in disability benefits to military veterans.

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Bachmann posted the document on her official Web site, calling the spending cuts “real and necessary” to avoid increasing the debt ceiling above $14.3 trillion. She supports the United States wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Oh hell no! In the middle of 2 wars?” remarked Paul Rieckhoff, a veterans advocate who served during the Iraq war, in a Twitter post echoed by dozens.

The Minnesota Republican’s plan seeks to “[c]ap increases in Department of Veterans Affairs health care spending, and reduce disability compensation to account for SS disability payments. Reduce Veterans’ Disability Compensation to account for Social Security Disability Insurance payments.”

The US federal deficit is poised to hit $1.5 trillion in 2011, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected this week, and while Congress debates ways to cut spending, veterans’ benefits have not yet been targeted.

“It is really astonishing to see this,” Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, told the Army Times, noting that VA expenses have risen in recent years with thousands of US troops in need of medical attention.

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Bachmann has garnered something of a cult following among tea partyers across the nation, and recently elevated her profile by offering her own “tea party” response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday.


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Prince Harry and Meghan to start non-profit in US

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Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle are planning to launch a wide-ranging non-profit organisation named Archewell, reports on Tuesday said.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who formally stepped down as senior members of the British royal family last week, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper they were establishing the organization in the United States, where they are now based.

The charitable organization will include emotional support groups, a multimedia educational empire and a wellbeing website among other things.

They said they wanted "to do something of meaning, to do something that matters".

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‘One failure after another’: MSNBC’s Morning Joe busts tragic COVID-19 mistakes Trump keeps trying to deny

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough lamented the repeated failures and missed opportunities by President Donald Trump as he faced the coronavirus outbreak.

The "Morning Joe" host criticized the president for claiming it was not the federal government's job to test Americans for the virus, and instead shifted responsibility to the states and their governors.

"This is a perfect 'the buck stops here' contrast with Donald Trump, saying, 'I am not responsible,'" Scarborough said. "What we can talk about is ventilators, the national Defense Production Act. We could talk about all the ways that Donald Trump keeps trying to pass the buck, keeps trying to say, 'I'm not responsible.'"

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Watch: Dr. Fauci says ‘pre-coronavirus’ America may never return – at least not until there’s a vaccine

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Dr. Anthony Fauci told America Monday evening that the nation they knew just weeks and months ago may never be seen again, or at least not for quite some time.

Asked if a "return-to-normal" will be possible before a coronavirus vaccine is found and mass-produced, Dr. Fauci replied that may never happen – until the entire population can be protected with a vaccine.

"If 'back-to-normal' means acting like there never was a coronavirus problem, I don't think that's going to happen until we do have a situation where you can completely protect the population," Dr. Fauci said. "But when we say 'getting back-to-normal' we mean something very different from what we're going through right now – 'cause right now we are in a very intense mitigation."

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