Tester stands up for disabled veterans in economic stimulus debate

Senator wants to makes sure ‘veterans are not forgotten’

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester today stood up for the nation's 250,000 disabled veterans by demanding that they be included in the economic stimulus proposal now working its way through the Senate.

Tester, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, took to the Senate floor this morning to voice support for a plan by Senator Max Baucus to stimulate the economy by sending tax rebates to Americans.

Baucus, who authored the plan as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, would give a $500 rebate to all disabled veterans who have no incomes other than their disability benefits.

"We must not forget America's disabled veterans in this debate," Tester said on the Senate floor.  "I assure my colleagues that these veterans feel the pinch of higher gas prices, heating costs—and everything else in between—just as much as any other household struggling along on a fixed income."

Regardless of what happens with the Senate's current version of the economic stimulus proposal, Tester said he will fight to include a rebate for disabled veterans in the final version.

"The way we treat those who have fought for our freedom and our nation says a great deal about our society," Tester said.  "Because when it comes to veterans, we're not talking about a handout.  We're talking about a country honoring our promise we made to our servicemen and women."

In addition to giving rebates to disabled veterans, Baucus' proposal also gives a flat $500 rebate to any American reporting $3000 of income on their 2007 tax return—including wages, Social Security income or self-employment income.  Rebates would be doubled to $1,000 for married couples filing jointly, and families would receive an additional $300 per child under age 17.  Twenty million seniors would also receive $500 rebates.