• WisPolitics


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

 6:45 PM 

Pelosi addresses American Legion

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told members of the American Legion in Milwaukee today that veterans deserve a “future worthy of their sacrifice.”

She focused largely on what Congress has done and needs to do for veterans, but she also talked about the economy.

Pelosi said President Obama made a “strong statement in the Oval Office about the new chapter our nation has begun in Iraq” and said the nation thanks those who served and continue to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“When the troops come home now from Iraq, we will show them our thanks in the grandest possible way,” Pelosi said, adding that includes ensuring troops a “smooth transition” when they come home.

“Regardless of what you may have thought about going into the war, we separate the war and the warrior and we will welcome them home as they heroes that they are,” Pelosi said to applause.

Pelosi stressed a number of measures passed to assist veterans, including the new Post 9/11 GI Bill, expanded health care for veterans, funding for disability compensation for problems related to “agent orange” exposure and a program that hires wounded veterans to work as congressional staffers. She called for eliminating veteran homelessness, changes to ensure no vets are turned away from VA hospital care, an end a tax on survivor benefits for military families, and a renewed commitment to treating traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Pelosi also pushed House Democrats' “Make it in America” jobs plan and stressed the importance of a strong economy to returning vets.

She said veterans must know “that when they fight we promise them a future worthy of their sacrifice and that future must provide economic opportunity for them and their families.”

Following Pelosi's address, Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Indiana, criticized Pelosi, saying she's failed to support those currently in the military.

"Please don't just say 'we'll take care of you when you come home,'" Buyer said. "You cannot have a voting record whereby you do not support the men and women in the military.

"When someone enters the military you make sure they are properly trained and properly equipped so you don't have to take care of them for the rest of their lives," Buyers said to applause.

Buyer also highlighted the fact that there are 50,000 troops in Iraq who remain combatants, despite Obama's declaration that the combat mission is over.

Buyer, a colonel in the Army Reserve who's retiring this year from Congress, discussed work he has done to support troops and veterans, such as pushing for improved design of military helmets to save lives and working to improve education and health care benefits for veterans.


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