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thedrifter
08-17-06, 07:39 AM
Scott says Iraq vets are shortchanged
The Democratic U.S.
BY JOHN M.R. BULL
247-4768
August 17, 2006

NEWPORT NEWS -- While Congress has appropriated more money for veteran services, it isn't enough to cover the increased needs of physically and mentally wounded soldiers and Marines returning from the war in Iraq, U.S. Rep. Robert C. Scott said Wednesday in a meeting with the Daily Press' editorial board.

"The cost of that war, we've just not been honest about it," said Scott, D-Newport News. "The mental health aspect is a huge deal."

Some congressional Republicans have pointed out they have voted to increase funding for veteran services - like U.S. Rep. Thelma Drake, R-Norfolk, who is being challenged on the issue by Democratic candidate Phil Kellam of Virginia Beach.

That extra funding doesn't take into account the fact that $20 billion more is needed, Scott said, to fully fund veteran services that are being stretched thin to handle war-related problems veterans and active-duty personnel are encountering.

Lower-priority veteran programs are not fully funded so war-related services - physical and mental therapy as well as dealing with problems caused by extended and repeat deployments - can be adequately funded, Scott said.

Scott blamed Republicans for running up record deficits by cutting taxes for the rich instead of fully funding Democrat priorities such as veteran services and the national education reform called No Child Left Behind. That has become a Democratic Party talking point over the past few months.

President Bush inherited a $5.5 billion surplus from his predecessor, Bill Clinton, and six years later the country faces a $3 trillion deficit, Scott said in a meeting with the Daily Press editorial board.

Scott said Democratic candidates should attack incumbents on their deficit spending, and ask, "Why did you vote to bankrupt our government?"

"What are they going to say?" he wondered with shrug.

Scott is unopposed in the November election.

Ellie