Republican Senator Who Voted No On $21 Billion In Vet Aid Further Infuriates Veterans Groups
North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, the ranking Republican on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, voted no on aid for vets earlier this year. Now, veterans groups are lashing out at him for an open letter he wrote the groups condemning them for not doing more to speak out against Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.
Calling Burr’s letter a “monumental cheap shot” and a “disgusting ambush style of politics,” Veterans of Foreign Wars’ commander in chief William A. Thien and John E. Hamilton, the adjutant general, said on Monday that Burr should be ashamed of his conduct.
“Senator, this is clearly one of the most dishonorable and grossly inappropriate acts that we’ve witnessed in more than forty years of involvement with the veteran community and breaches the standards of the United States Senate. Your allegations are ugly and mean-spirited in every sense of the words and are profoundly wrong, both logically and morally. Quite frankly Senator, you should be ashamed,” Thien and Hamilton wrote.
In the open letter on Friday, Burr said that aside from the American Legion, which called for Shinseki’s resignation early this month after reports surfaced of veterans dying while on wait lists at VA hospitals, other veterans’ groups seemed “more interested in defending the status quo within the V.A., protecting their relationships with the agency, and securing access to the secretary and his inner circle.”
“Last week’s hearing made it clear to me that the (veterans’ groups executive) staff has ignored the constant VA problems expressed by their members and is more interested in their own livelihoods and Washington connections than they are to the needs of their own members,” Burr wrote.
Paralyzed Veterans of America National President Bill Lawson and Executive Director Homer Townsend Jr. wrote that Burr represents “the worst of politics in this country.”