ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Upset Clay County veterans voiced their frustrations with federal budget and spending deals at a town hall meeting hosted by Rep. Ted Yoho Friday night in Orange Park.
"You just can't bargain away what we did for our country," said one woman.
Yoho called a budget deal passed last month a tough vote, because it included a 1-percent cost of living reduction for working age vets, like Melissa Baker's husband. He served 20 years in the military, including three tours in Iraq. She says in that time, he spent less than four years on shore with his family.
"We are an easy target," she told Action News.
Baker was one of dozens who told Yoho it was unfair for the government break promises made to those who've sacrificed everything for their country.
"If they can go back on my husband's contract, why not go back on theirs?" Baker said.
Yoho says there is a plan. Legislation has been filed to reduce all federal workers pensions by 1.3 percent. That money would then be allocated to help support legislation to repeal cuts the veterans benefits.
Baker says it's a step, but more should be done to make sure that happens.
"There is a lot of waste going on. Are they really thankful for the sacrifices my family has made?"
Yoho says yes.
"They laid their lives on the line for this country and we need to treat our veterans properly. As far as the cost of living decrease goes, I feel confident they'll never see that effect," Yoho said.
Veterans' benefits are not slated to take effect until December 2015. Yoho believes there's plenty of time to get that part of the budget deal repealed.
This week, the U.S. House and Senate passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that restored the pension cuts disabled working age veterans, which make up 10 percent of those affected.