Veterans and military retirees who took part in the deadly Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol would lose their VA benefits, should a member of Congress have his way. Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-AZ, himself a Marine Corps combat veteran, expressed his opinion in letters to Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, VA Secretary Denis R. McDonough, and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
According to an NPR estimate, 20 percent of the rioters who took part in the attack were veterans, Gallego pointed out in the letters. “Any veteran or service member who stormed the Capitol on January 6 forfeited their moral entitlement to privileged benefits at the expense of the people of the United States,” he wrote to McDonough, urging the secretary to “use your discretion […] to immediately withdraw these veterans’ benefits […] I am confident that you can find “satisfactory” evidence to do so as required under 38 U.S. Code § 6104.”
In the letter to Austin and Mayorkas, Gallego urged them to “quickly identify, investigate and prosecute any active service member or retiree that participated in the attack” under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and notify VA in the event that any of those prosecutions result in convictions.