Months after Congress passed a bill temporarily raising the fees that veterans pay for home loans, lawmakers are quietly seeking to tap the same pot of money again, a move that's pitting veterans’ groups against one another.
The House voice-voted a bill, H.R. 3504 (116), this summer that would hike veterans’ mortgage fees by more than half a billion dollars over the next 10 years — with $86 million of that going toward helping offset the U.S. deficit. The money is mostly to be used for the benefit of disabled vets by expanding both housing grants for them and a scholarship program for the children of military members killed in the line of duty.
So the legislation is putting veterans' advocates in a tough spot: Everyone supports the underlying programs for disabled vets, but while some groups are willing to eat the higher fees to get the legislation passed, others are drawing a line.
“Taking from those veterans [buying a home] in order to redistribute their money to another veterans cause is just robbing Peter to pay Paul,” said Lindsay Rodman, an executive vice president of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
“The way that they’re paying for it is essentially a cop-out of government responsibility to pay for the wounds of war,” Rodman said.