Joe Biden trolled for $86M migrant housing funding, Madison Cawthorn cries 'zero dollars for homeless vets'

Conservatives attacked President Biden for spending on migrants over vets, but fact checks show $17B in the American Rescue Plan for homeless veterans


                            Joe Biden trolled for $86M migrant housing funding, Madison Cawthorn cries 'zero dollars for homeless vets'
Rep Madison Cawthorn has slammed President Joe Biden for allegedly ignoring homeless vets and funding immigration housing (Getty Images)

The Joe Biden administration has given $86.9 Million to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to house the increasing number of migrants on the southern US border. The money will be used to provide hotel rooms for migrants who have not yet been expelled from the country and are in various stages of their appeal.

The massive bill has naturally caught the eye of Republicans, who are questioning why the administration is spending so much on "illegal immigrants" over other key domestic issues like homeless veterans.

Vets have become the new poster boys for Republicans, with many taking to social media to slam President Biden and ask "what about our vets?" The term, homeless vets, has since begun trending on Twitter with many conservative users raising the same question. 

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The money was used for a contract awarded to Texas non-profit Endeavors. The charity will provide 1,239 beds and other services like Covid-19 tests, educational resources and mental health care for the many migrants navigating America's complex immigration system.

Does it really come at the cost of veterans as Republicans claim? Not really, since $17 Billion in the America Rescue Plan was allocated for the Veteran Affairs (VA) department. That's something many have chosen to ignore.

Homeless veteran tents at the VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Campus Japanese Garden on September 24, 2020, in Los Angeles, California (Getty Images)

'Can we start with our homeless vets?'

North Carolina Congressman Madison Cawthorn was the first to kickstart the comparison when he tweeted "The Biden Admin just dropped $86 Million dollars to get hotel rooms for ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS yet we have zero dollars going to our homeless veterans who are at a high risk of suicide. UNACCEPTABLE. UNAMERICAN".



 

That was soon followed by a cascade of similar tweets. Buzz Paterson, a veteran and candidate for Congress tweeted "Can we start with our homeless vets if we’re bankrolling living accommodations for illegal immigrants? America first? OK?" Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie tweeted, "How is it right to give illegal aliens hotel rooms while homeless veterans are on the streets?"



 

 



 

Another account tweeted to Lt Colonel Adam Kinzinger, "I look forward to seeing your upcoming tweet about how upset you are that the Biden administration is giving $86 million taxpayer money to pay for illegal immigrants hotel stays while over 40,000 Vets (those would be the people that sacrificed for their country) remain homeless."



 

Conservative author and activist Brigitte Gabriel said, "If you cross the border illegally Joe Biden & Kamala Harris give you a free hotel room. We have homeless veterans all across this country! America needs President Trump BACK!" One user said, "Ship these grifters home! Do our Homeless Vets get this kind of stipend? No, and neither should these criminals!"



 

 



 

 

Rep Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference being held in the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021, in Orlando, Florida (Getty Images)

Fact check: Dems did allocate funds for homeless vets

Despite what Republicans and conservatives claim, the Biden administration has also announced funding for veterans in the American Rescue Plan. The bill specifically outlines $17 billion for the VA, used for various aspects. A total of $14.5 billion was allocated for healthcare and support, including housing support. A sum of $750 million was assigned for construction and payments for State Homes that house homeless vets as well. $1 billion will be used to waive veterans’ medical debts during the pandemic.

No Republican in either house voted for the bill, which was passed earlier this month. Twitter was quick to remind Republicans of that fact, with many users shooting back at Cawthorn. One user tweeted, "The American Rescue Plan, which this Republican voted against, actually puts billions toward helping homeless veterans. So this Republican either didn't know what he was voting against or he's lying. Maybe both."

A homeless veteran sleeps in a tent, during Stand Down 2007 on July 13, 2007, in San Diego, California. Stand Down is a yearly event that primarily provides support to homeless veterans (Getty Images)

One user replied, "You know there is billions for homeless Americans in the American Rescue Plan. You voted against it. So if anyone is trying to take money from homeless veterans - it’s you."



 

 



 

Another asked, "How many bills have you introduced to help homeless veterans?" That sentiment was echoed by another user, who tweeted, "You know how to fix that? Write legislation for homeless vets and pass it. So how about you do that instead of trying to use them?"



 

 



 

Journalist Steve Beynon tweeted, "Cawthorn serves on the Veterans Affairs committee and has not yet introduced any bills that would combat veteran homelessness."



 

Between 2010 and 2019, the number of homeless veterans was cut in half according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The non-profit also noted that "in 2019, 21 out of every 10,000 veterans were homeless". The number of homeless vets did increase as a result of the pandemic, by about 0.4% according to a report by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

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