Thursday, November 02, 2006

Letter From Disabled Vet Refutes Claims in Pioneer Press Endorsement of Kline

From a listener/reader: A letter to the Pioneer Press

I read with great interest the article in today's edition about Rowley and Kline. This paragraph "Kline said he played a key role in ending the long-standing practice of reducing military pension payments by subtracting a retiree's disability benefits." Because I have been in the category to which he referred for more than 34 years, I am keenly aware of how long we fought for this and have followed for years those in Congress who have tried to get it corrected and those who have opposed it. Following is a letter I wrote to Kline almost 3 years ago:

December 12, 2003

Congressman John Kline
101 West Burnsville Parkway
Suite 201
Burnsville, MN 55337

Congressman Kline:

I am in receipt of your letter of November 2003, addressed to “Dear Veteran” in which you seem to be taking some credit for the recent passage of the Concurrent Receipt legislation. In my opinion it is disingenuous on your part to claim any credit for the successful enactment of this legislation. I don’t doubt that you voted in favor of the Defense Appropriation Bill that included the Concurrent Receipt provisions, but it is my opinion if HR 303 had been voted on as a stand-alone provision you would have voted against it.

I base my opinion on your refusal to co-sponsor HR 303. A failure to co-sponsor a bill in my opinion is the same as no vote for its enactment. Further, Rep Jim Marshall of Georgia introduced House Resolution 251, a Discharge Petition to force HR 303 from committee to a full house hearing. Here again, you refused to co-sponsor that Resolution.

The Bush Administration, including President Bush and Def Sec Rumsfeld, was opposed to Concurrent Receipt and in my opinion you were in lock step with the Administration’s opposition. It was only because of pressure brought by Veterans Service Organizations and other members of Congress that the Administration relented in its opposition and agreed to the compromise legislation. The compromise is a step in the right direction but is unfair to those retirees with an under 50% disability rating who will see no relief.

I will appreciate your personal reply addressing my opinions stated above and will retain the possibility that I may have misinterpreted your intentions. However I will require an explanation for your thinking and reasoning for failure to co-sponsor the legislation.

Yours truly,
Sidney Paul Beck

As can be seen by my comments I don't believe Kline did anything to get this done. Interestingly, I have never received a reply from Kline. One of his assistants who identified himself as a retired Army NCO contacted my via phone and tried to assure me that Kline had "worked in the background" to get the legislation enacted. I asked the individual to write me a letter outlining what Kline had done and with whom he had worked. I have never received any correspondence from either Kline or his assistant, therefore I still believe Kline is falsely taking credit for something he actually opposed.

Sidney Paul Beck
Eagan, MN


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