Tammy Duckworth: GOP exploiting veterans
By: Tal Kopan
October 3, 2013 07:41 AM EDT
Iraq war veteran Rep. Tammy Duckworth charged that Republicans were using veterans to make a scene at the World War II Memorial, saying those who served deserve a “heck of a lot more” from Washington.
The Illinois Democrat, who lost both of her legs in Iraq, said Republicans should vote for a clean continuing resolution if they care about veterans, who they are “pretending” to help.
“You have to pass a budget, we need a clean CR. And then to use veterans, you know, this is political theater and it’s not acceptable. My dad was a World War II veteran, and he’d be shaking his head right now if he saw what was happening to the country that he fought for,” Duckworth said on Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Hardball.”
Duckworth was responding to politicians who appeared with WWII veterans at the war’s monument Tuesday and Wednesday, helping them go past barricades at the memorial, which was closed due to the government shutdown. She said the real harm to veterans comes from the shutdown itself.
“These same veterans that they’re pretending to help today at the WWII memorial, you know, they’re going to have access to their disability pensions is going to be limited after Oct. 15. There’s going to be cuts in prosthetic research for veterans. The National Cemetery Administration is not going to be able to lay our heroes to rest at the same rate that they were,” Duckworth said. “And Michele Bachmann who was there today at the World War II Memorial actually said, ‘The shutdown is exactly what we wanted. We got what we wanted.’ A good day for the tea party is when government is having a bad day.”
The veteran also dismissed piecemeal legislation passed by the House that would temporarily fund specific parts of goverment, including the Veterans Administration.
“One of the things that I want to make sure people understand is that the veterans bill last night, you know, was a nonstarter. We don’t pass a budget piecemeal. We don’t ask a veteran, ‘Do you want us to pay for you but not allow your grandbaby to go to Head Start?’” Duckworth said. “We owe our veterans a heck of a lot more than showmanship. We need to make sure that we do fund the VA, we do need to make sure that our veterans that are in that backlog waiting for their benefits to be processed get processed.”