Sunday, July 03, 2005

Bush Administration Has Failed Vets

ABC News
Bush Administration Has Failed Vets
In Dems' Address, Senator Says Veterans Affairs Shortfall Another Failure for Bush Administration
The Associated Press

Jul. 2, 2005 - President Bush's recent denials concerning the financial straits of the Veterans Affairs Department represented another administration failure to level with Americans about the costs of the Iraq war, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Saturday.

"Due to their failures, we saw troops using scrap metal to armor their Humvees," Murray said in the weekly Democratic radio address.

"Due to their failures, we saw families raising funds to buy bulletproof vests for soldiers fighting in Iraq. And now, due to their failures, we see that the VA doesn't have the money to provide the needed medical care when our troops return home."

Murray and other Democrats had long questioned whether the department would have enough money to pay medical costs for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The administration repeatedly denied it, but the VA acknowledged last week it was short at least $1 billion this year.

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 96-0 to spend an extra $1.5 billion to cover the politically sensitive shortfall.

"We're still working to find out the exact size of the shortfall, but one thing is clear: It results from either deliberate misdirection or gross incompetence," Murray said.

"The president has an obligation to our troops, their families and to the American people to tell the truth about the costs and sacrifices necessary to win the war in Iraq," she said. "There's no better time than now, as we celebrate our country's independence and all that is great about this nation, for the president to give us the facts and lay out a plan."