Representatives Duckworth, Enyart, Walz Decry Playing Politics with our Nation’s Veterans

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–October 2, 2013.  Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Congressman Bill Enyart (D-IL) and Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN) today decried attempts to play politics with our nation’s Veterans who have been caught in the middle of the reckless government shutdown. Rather than pass a clean, non-political bill to fully fund and reopen the government, last night the House Majority attempted to pass a stand-alone draconian funding cut of over $6 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“I am disappointed that the majority has used Veterans as political pawns,” said Duckworth. “This legislation is not an answer for our nation’s heroes. In fact, it cuts more than $6 billion in funds for the Department of Veterans Affairs.  I’ve been fighting for our military men and women and Vets for too long to allow anyone to cynically exploit them in a political brawl. Shame on the people who would make $6 billion in cuts at a time when the need for Veterans Services has never been greater. We cannot keep the government running piece by piece. All, not just some, of my constituents deserve service from and access to government. I urge the House Leadership to end the shutdown today by passing the Continuing Resolution that was approved by the Senate, and get together to conference on a long-term budget that addresses deficit reduction and creates jobs.”

“This was a phony bill that was a complete slap in the face to Veterans who need care,” Enyart said.  “Under the guise of helping Veterans during a shutdown that was created by Congress, the solution was actually a funding cut in disguise. This was designed for nothing more than political cover for the people who are continuing a government shut-down. I’ve pushed the federal government to speed up the backlog of disability claims all year and we are finally making progress. The phony bill put on the House floor Tuesday evening would have gutted those programs. It would have eliminated discretionary programs to assist disabled vets and provide necessary medical treatment to those who have earned it in service to our country. On a day when Honor Flight Veterans in wheelchairs faced barricades at the World War II memorial because of an unnecessary government shut-down, Congress shouldn’t dishonor our Veterans any further.”

“Veterans gave us the precious gift of self-governance. The best way to honor their sacrifice is not to pit American against American, but to reopen the government and fulfill the promises we made to them,” said Walz. “The action taken by the Majority disrespects everything they fought for. It’s time to stop the games, do the work, and pass the clean, compromise bill the Senate passed to reopen government.”

Duckworth is currently serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois National Guard. Enyart is the retired Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard.  A veteran of both the Air Force and Army, he is the only general officer serving in Congress. Walz served 24 years in the Army National Guard and is the highest ranking enlisted soldier to ever serve in Congress.