Veterans Hitting John McCain Hard For His Flawed Record of Support

From Veterans Today:

Open Letter to Senator John McCain

by Jere Beery

Senator McCain, I watched the 1st Presidential debate with great interest. One particular comment made by you caught my attention. You stated “the veterans know you will take care of them’ if you are elected President. I’m one of the veterans you were apparently speaking of/for, and I take issue with your assumption. Your voting record in the Senate on veteran’s issues has been nothing less than deplorable. Most recently, you opposed the new GI Bill on the basis it was too generous. Your record speaks for itself. Why should the veterans believe you now? 

As I said, I am one of the veterans you were addressing. I am the recipient of 1 Bronze Star and 3 Purple Hearts for service in Vietnam. I have been a veteran’s advocate for over 25 years now and I am more than qualified to criticize you and your comment. I have personally been fighting for increased funding for veterans’ healthcare for three decades. I am currently involved in the nationwide movement for full mandatory funding of the VA healthcare system.

To date, our resolution for full funding has been adopted by several Presidential candidates, to include; Senator Barack Obama, Senator Hilary Clinton, Senator John Edwards, and Governor Bill Richardson. You have been approached on several occasions by members of our organization for your endorsement of the full funding concept, just to be snubbed. You have been quoted to say that you do not support fully funding veteran’s healthcare, so much for the idea that you will take care of our veterans.

Senator McCain, the simple truth is; I don’t believe you, and I’m certain that many of our veterans don’t believe you either. Pandering to the veteran community at this late date is only going to backfire on you. The veterans aren’t as dumb as you apparently think they are.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jere Beery is the Public Relations Director of Operation Firing For Effect, a veterans group. 

He can be reached by email at  Operation Fire for Effect Web Site is at

More interesting facts:

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the country’s largest Iraq veterans’ group gave John McCain a grade of D when it comes to looking out for their issues.

In 2007, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), after surveying McCain’s votes on healthcare issues for its 1.3 million members, gave him only 20 percent rating. 

On Webb’s GI Bill, he expressed opposition, and he was AWOL when it was time to vote on May 22. He has since tried to claim credit.

Last September, he voted against another Webb bill that would have mandated adequate rest for troops between combat deployments.

On a badly needed $1.5-billion increase for veterans medical services for fiscal year 2007 — to be funded through closing corporate tax loopholes — he voted no. He also voted against establishing a trust fund to bolster under-budgeted veterans hospitals.

In May 2006, he voted against a $20-billion allotment for expanding swamped veterans medical facilities.

On April 26, 2006, McCain voted against an amendment by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) that would have “provided an additional $430,000,000 for the Department of Veteran Affairs for Medical Services for outpatient care and treatment for veterans.”

March 14, 2006, McCain voted against “increasing Veterans medical services funding by $1.5 billion in FY 2007 to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes.” 

On March 10, 2004, McCain also voted against“creating a reserve fund to allow for an increase in Veterans’ medical care by $1.8 billion by eliminating tax loopholes.”

On Troop Funding:

John McCain has recently criticized his opponent claiming that he voted against troop funding. However, as points out:

On March 29, 2007, McCain himself voted against H.R. 1591, an emergency spending bill that would have funded the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and would have provided more than $1 billion in additional funds to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Senate passed H.R. 1591 by a margin of 51-47. Once the bill’s conference report was agreed to by the House, the Senate again passed the measure on April 26, 2007, by a vote of 51-46. McCain did not vote on that version of the bill. By contrast, Obama voted for it on both occasions. President Bush vetoedthe bill, citing its provision for a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

From the non-partisan

2006 Senator McCain only supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 20 percent of the time.

2006 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave Senator McCain a grade of D.

2006  Senator McCain sponsored or co-sponsored 18 percent of the legislation favored by the The Retired Enlisted Association in 2006.

2005  Senator McCain supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 25 percent in 2005.

2004  Senator McCain supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 50 percent in 2004.

2004  Senator McCain supported the interests of the The Retired Enlisted Association 0 percent in 2004.

2003-2004  Senator McCain supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 100 percent in 2003-2004.

2003  Senator McCain supported the interests of the The American Legion 50 percent in 2003.

2001  Senator McCain supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 46 percent in 2001.

1999  Senator McCain supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 66 percent in 1999.

1997-1998  Senator McCain supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 0 percent in 1997-1998.

1989-1990  On the votes that the Vietnam Veterans of America considered to be the most important in 1989-1990 , Senator McCain voted their preferred position 50 percent of the time.

One Response to “Veterans Hitting John McCain Hard For His Flawed Record of Support”

  1. For all of you Obama osama doesn’t wear a flag pin muslim anti american blah blah blah fear-mongers out there let me first say this is an anybody but McCain blog. However just to show you how ignorant you really are I’ll go ahead and past Obama’s record of supporting out military:

    February 15, 2005: Obama critiques Bush for providing a veterans budget funding that is $4 billion short

    March 26, 2005: Obama introduces a bill to add $2.85 billion to VA health care, but the bill was defeated (<–probably by people who usually put their hands over their hearts instead of singing for the national anthem)

    April 14, 2005: Obama gives Senate floor speech about wounded veterans who were paying for their own meals and phone service while recovering

    May 12, 2005: Senate passes Obama amendment ensuring that wounded veterans recovering in military hospitals would not have to pay for their own meals.

    May 23, 2005: Obama, Durbin, and Nichols hold a Veterans Town Hall meeting to hear veteran’s concerns

    June 14, 2005: Obama, Durbin introduce bill to prevent Iraq War widow from being sent back to Kosovo

    June 23, 2005: Obama releases statement of concern about the $1 billion shortfall in the budget for veteran’s care.

    June 28, 2005: Obama pushes for emergency funding for veteran health care in light of the fact that Congress found billions to give people tax cuts.

    June 30, 2005: Obama praises Senate decision to provide $1.5 billion for VA health care

    July 15, 2005: Obama gives major speech at the American Legion on caring for America’s veterans

    July 21, 2005: Obama votes to add additional funding for armor military vehicles

    August 10, 2005: Obama criticizes VA decision not to review cases of veterans who were denied claims for post-traumatic stress disorder

    September 23, 2005: Senate passes Obama, Durbin legislation requiring VA to inform veterans in states who had received below-average disability compensation

    September 23, 2005: Obama, Durbin amendment ensures that veterans whose PTSD cases were reviewed would not get their benefits reduced or revoked.

    October 3, 2006: Military Update highlights Obama’s efforts on reviews of PTSD cases

    November 10, 2005: Obama releases statement about the VA suspending their review of PTSD cases.

    November 16, 2005: Obama passes amendments to protect troops from Avian flu and to improve their health care

    November 18, 2005: Obama, Durbin legislation requiring individuals to be informed about lower than average disability compensation in their states moves toward being signed into law

    December 16, 2005: Kerry, Pryor, Obama provision to help troops save thousands on their taxes passes Senate

    January 25, 2006: Obama decries the fact that thousands of veterans were denied VA care in 2005

    January 27, 2006: Obama and others demand answers from VA for rude service and incorrect answers at their call center

    February 2, 2006: Obama addresses low job placement rates for veterans

    February 16, 2006: Obama criticizes “accounting gimmicks” in Bush’s proposed VA budget, the increase in veterans’ health care and co-payment fees, the ban on middle-income veterans, the cut in claims benefits processing staff, no increased funding for nursing home construction, and cuts for medical and prosthetics research.

    March 16, 2006: Senate approves Obama bill providing $40 million for homeless veterans and veteran’s employment

    May 8, 2006: VA acts on Obama, Durbin legislation to inform veterans who have received below average disability benefits

    May 17, 2006: Obama helps a veteran get $12,500 in back benefit pay.

    May 22, 2006: Obama calls the theft of 26.5 million VA records “unconscionable”

    May 23, 2006: Obama, Durbin asks VA to provide credit monitoring services to veterans whose records had been stolen

    June 7, 2006: Obama introduces bill to keep homeless veterans off the street

    June 22, 2006: Obama bill to get homeless veterans off the street passes Senate Veterans Affairs committee

    November 30, 2006: Obama releases statement expressing encouragement by Iraq Study Group’s call for redeploying U.S. forces

    February 20, 2007: Obama, McCaskill plan to introduce legislation that would improve care at active duty military hospitals

    February 27, 2007: Obama releases statement on troops being deployed to Iraq without proper training

    March 1, 2007: Obama, McCaskill officially introduce the Dignity for Wounded Heroes Act

    March 1, 2007: The Army Times highlights the Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act introduced by Obama and McCaskill

    March 13, 2007: Obama, Durbin ask VA for info about most recent disparities in disability benefits and about whether they are prepared for the increasing number of new veterans

    March 27, 2007: Other Senators join Obama and McCaskill¡¯s Dignity for Wounded Heroes Act

    March 29, 2007: Obama commemorates sacrifice of the Tuskeegee Airmen

    March 29, 2007: Senate Republicans reject provisions in the Dignity for Wounded Heroes Act introduced by Obama and McCaskill that would have provided funding for caseworkers, mental health care counselors, a women¡¯s mental health treatment program, and a study of mental health care for returning soldiers

    March 30, 2007: Obama calls on Bush to support care for returning soldiers by supporting the Dignity for Wounded Heroes Act

    April 10, 2007: Obama and other senators introduce a bill to provide housing for homeless veterans

    April 12, 2007: Obama raises concerns about Bush¡¯s nominee for Veteran¡¯s Affairs

    April 19, 2007: Obama and other senators ask GAO to study military¡¯s mental health care

    April 19, 2007: The Army Times examines soldiers being discharged for PTSD and the efforts of Obama and other senators to address it

    May 2, 2007: Obama, McCaskill introduce the Homecoming Enhancement Research Oversight (HERO) Act that would evaluate the physical, mental health, and readjustment needs of service members returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    May 8, 2007: Obama asks President to ensure that the National Guard has the resources it needs to respond to national emergencies

    May 10, 2007: Obama, other senators introduce bill to update treatment of traumatic brain injury for military servicemembers

    May 10, 2007: The AP highlights the National Guard¡¯s readiness and Obama¡¯s efforts to address it

    May 22, 2007: Obama, other senators express concern about mental health care services for soldiers at Fort Carson

    May 23, 2007: Obama, Domenici introduce bill to expand mental health care access for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan

    May 28, 2007: The Washington Post writes an editorial highlighting the need for Obama¡¯s legislation to improve veterans¡¯ mental health care

    June 14, 2007: A comprehensive Senate bill to improve health care for service members incorporates proposals from Obama and McCaskill¡¯s Dignity for Wounded Heroes Act.

    June 21, 2007: Obama and other senators demand review of personality disorder discharges for soldiers

    June 21, 2007: Obama and other senators introduce bill to improve VA services for blind veterans

    June 27, 2007: Several Obama proposals are incorporated into a Senate bill to improve veteran¡¯s health care and benefits including a VA Hospital Quality Report card and extended mental health coverage for veterans and increased outreach to the National Guard and the Reserve

    July 12, 2007: Obama and other senators plan to introduce legislation to temporarily cease military personality disorder discharges

    July 17, 2007: Obama releases statement on resignation of VA secretary with whom he had to fight to get veterans their benefits

    July 19, 2007: Obama introduces legislation to impose a moratorium on military personality disorder discharges until the procedure is reviewed

    July 25, 2007: Obama, McCaskill applaud passage of Wounded Warrior legislation

    July 26, 2006: Obama and other senators introduce legislation to provide an employment safety net for families of wounded service members

    August 2, 2007: Obama and other senators introduce ¡°Patriot Employers Act¡± legislation to reward companies that invest in jobs, benefits, decent wages, and support for their employees who are called to active duty

    August 2, 2007: Senate passes Obama/McCaskill’s Military Family Job Protection Act which provides up to a year of job protection for family members caring for a service member recovering from combat-related injuries

    August 21, 2007: Barack Obama gives major speech to the VFW on America’s veterans

    September 18, 2007: Obama, McCaskill release statement on Military Family Job Protection Act urging the Senate to approve it

    September 19, 2007: Obama co-sponsors Jim Webb legislation that requires minimum periods between troop redeployments

    September 25, 2007: Obama, McCaskill continue to fight for passage of Military Family Job Protection Act

    September 26, 2007: Obama releases statement on GAO report that wounded soldiers are receiving substandard treatment from the Pentagon and VA

    September 26, 2007: Obama releases statement asking Bush to ensure that private contractors are not jeopardizing military¡¯s efforts in Iraq

    October 1, 2007: The Post-Dispatch discusses military soldier discharges for “pre-existing conditions” and the Obama/Bond legislation that addresses it.

    October 1, 2007: Obama, Bond praise new safeguards on military personality disorder discharges

    October 17, 2007: Obama calls on Gates to ensure that all service members are receiving full educational benefits

    October 21, 2007: The Post-Dispatch interviews soldiers handling the effects of personality disorder discharges and highlights the Obama/Bond legislation that calls for a moratorium

    October 23, 2007: Obama, Durbin demand full report on military post traumatic stress disorder cases

    October 30, 2007: Obama releases statement on nomination of James Peake for VA Secretary

    November 5, 2007: Obama and other senators call on Pentagon to ensure quality care for returning service members with eye injuries

    November 8, 2007: Obama introduces the Veterans Homelessness Prevention Act which provides housing and support services for veterans and their families, including those returning from Iraq, who are at high-risk of becoming homeless

    November 17, 2007: Obama and Durbin introduce legislation to improve hiring and quality of care at VA medical centers

    November 19, 2007: A wounded Iraq veteran visits Barack Obama’s Senate office for help.

    November 20, 2007: Barack Obama writes a post on VetVoice, the blog for VoteVets explaining his vision for taking care of America’s veterans

    December 12, 2007: Obama, Durbin hail House introduction of the Veterans Health Quality Improvement Act

    December 14, 2007: Obama and other senators call for DoD review of treatment of service members with mental illness

    December 17, 2007: Obama hails passage of legislation that improves mental health care for troops

    December 21, 2007: Obama other senators urge special review for discharged military personnel, moratorium on personality disorder discharges

    December 21, 2007: Obama, other senators urge President to fully fund Veteran’s Department

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