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.
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 mediamatters.org 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 Votesmart.org:
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.