For Immediate Release
Contact: Tanya Ang – (202) 838-5050
14 Military and Veterans Organizations Urge Congress to Fund the Iconic “Stars & Stripes” Newspaper
Organizations say fast action is necessary to guarantee the 159-year-old newspaper’s survival
WASHINGTON, DC — [September 16, 2020] — In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Veterans Education Success along with 13 leading military and veterans service organizations urged the Pentagon and Congress to “act fast” and follow through on funding Stars & Stripes, a newspaper that has served as a voice and trusted source of information for deployed troops since the Civil War.
The veterans and military organizations’ joint letter to the Appropriations Committee makes clear that not funding Stars & Stripes “would not only deny service members and veterans an opportunity to be more informed, it would represent an insurmountable loss in the ability of the larger military-connected community to communicate directly with our fellow service members and veterans.”
Their letter comes in response to the Department of Defense’s 2021 budget that slashed all federal funding for the newspaper for the next fiscal year, which begins October 1st. The newspaper was told to dismantle by October 1st. On September 4th, President Donald Trump decreed via tweet that Stars & Stripes will not lose federal funding. The Pentagon then rescinded, on September 14th, its order that the newspaper cease publication by September 30th.. However, Congress has yet to pass an appropriations bill that guarantees the newspaper’s funding. In July, the House of Representative passed a defense spending bill restoring Stars & Stripes’ $15.5 million in funding, but the Senate version of the bill includes no funding for Stars & Stripes. And while both houses of Congress have issued continuing resolutions supporting Stars & Stripes, these are temporary fixes that won’t save the 159-year-old newspaper from certain demise.
The joint letter also notes the signatories “couldn’t agree more” with a September 2nd letter addressed to the Department of Defense by a group of 15 bi-partisan senators, which argues that the estimated savings of $15.5 million from closing down the newspaper would have little impact on the department’s $700+ billion budget while having a significantly negative impact on military families.
“Many of the Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who signed this letter did so because they — along with more than three million other service members — relied on Stars & Stripes as a trusted news source while serving on the front lines,” said Tanya Ang, vice president of Veterans Education Success. “The editorially-independent newspaper has been a beacon of transparency for the troops, their families and the public for more than a century. We implore Congress to swiftly fund Stars & Stripes so it can continue its mission in 2021 and for the next 100 years.”
You can read the full letter here.
Veterans Education Success is a veteran advocacy organization whose mission is to protect and defend the integrity and promise of the GI Bill and other federal education programs for veterans and servicemembers. The organization offers free legal services, advice, and college and career counseling to veterans, their survivors, and families who faced college fraud or abuse in using their GI Bill. VES also helps veterans participate in their democracy by engaging Congressional representatives, and conducts non-partisan research on issues of concern to student veterans, including student outcomes and debt levels. Additional information is available at www.vetsedsuccess.org