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- November 10, 2015

A Look At Clinton's Record Shows She Has A Long History Of Being Out Of Touch With The Needs Of Veterans


TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • From her time as First Lady, to Senator, to presidential candidate, Clinton has a long record of being out of touch with the needs of our nation's veterans.
  • If past is prologue, Clinton's proposals will likely do little to address systemic problems at the VA and are mainly designed to quell criticism of being out of touch with veterans.
  • In her recent claim that the VA scandal was not "widespread," and her effort to blame Republicans rather than abuses in the VA system, Clinton let her true feelings show and provided yet another example as to why she cannot be trusted to be commander-in- chief.

Today, Clinton Unveiled Her Plans To Help Veterans And Address The Scandal Plaguing The Department Of Veterans Affairs. "On Monday, just after she officially registered as a Democratic candidate in New Hampshire, Hillary Rodham Clinton declared, 'This election is about our veterans.' It's a line she will most likely repeat on Tuesday when she rolls out her proposals to help veterans and to improve the treatment they receive at the Department of Veterans Affairs while also criticizing Republicans for their proposals to privatize the department." (Amy Chozick, "Hillary Clinton To Release Plan To Address Veterans Affairs Scandal," The New York Times ' First Draft , 11/10/15)

  • In Recent Remarks, Clinton Attempted To Fend Off Criticism And Portray Herself As Sympathetic To The Crisis Facing Our Nation's Veterans, Saying, "This Election Is About Our Veterans." "On Monday, just after she officially registered as a Democratic candidate in New Hampshire, Hillary Rodham Clinton declared, 'This election is about our veterans.' It's a line she will most likely repeat on Tuesday when she rolls out her proposals to help veterans and to improve the treatment they receive at the Department of Veterans Affairs while also criticizing Republicans for their proposals to privatize the department. The policy rollout will take place in Derry at a town-hall-style event with men and women who served in the military, and it comes as Mrs. Clinton is fielding Republican attacks on her previous comments about the problems that have plagued the department." (Amy Chozick, "Hillary Clinton To Release Plan To Address Veterans Affairs Scandal," The New York Times ' First Draft , 11/10/15)

CLINTON LET HER TRUE BELIEFS SHOW WHEN SHE CLAIMED THE VETERANS AFFAIRS SCANDAL WAS NOT "WIDESPREAD"

In An Interview Last Month, Clinton Said The VA Scandal Has "Not Been As Widespread As It Has Been Made Out To Be ." CLINTON: "Yeah, and I don't understand that. You know, I don't understand why we have such a problem, because there have been a number of surveys of veterans, and overall, veterans who do get treated are satisfied with their treatment. Now…" MADDOW: "Much more so than people in the regular system." CLINTON: "That's exactly right." MADDOW: "Yeah. Right." CLINTON: "Now, nobody would believe that from the coverage that you see, and the constant berating of the VA that comes from the Republicans, in part in pursuit of this ideological agenda that they have." MADDOW: "But in part because there has been real scandal." CLINTON: "There has been. And - but it's not been as widespread as it has been made out to be." (MSNBC's " The Rachel Maddow Show," 10/23/15)

  • Clinton Accused Republicans Of "Constant Berating Of The V.A. That Comes From The Republicans, In Part In Pursuit Of This Ideological Agenda…" CLINTON: "Now, nobody would believe that from the coverage that you see, and the constant berating of the V.A. that comes from the Republicans, in part in pursuit of this ideological agenda that they have." (MSNBC's " The Rachel Maddow Show," 10/23/15)

Click To Watch

Through A Spokesman, Clinton Refused To Apologize For Her Remarks. "'Republicans are trying to suggest the only solution to the VA's problems is to privatize it, but Hillary Clinton will not apologize for insisting on doing the hard work to reform the VA, rather than ending it altogether,' [Clinton campaign Press Secretary Brian] Fallon said." (Ben Kelsing, "Republicans Take Aim at Hillary Clinton For VA Remarks,"The Wall Street Journal, 10/28/15)

Days Later, Clinton Dodged Questions On Whether She Stood By Her Comments In Which She Downplayed The Scandal Plaguing The VA. QUESTION: "So this week, taking a lot of criticism about some recent comments you made about the VA, saying the scandal was overblown and that the problems aren't as widespread as people would have you believe. Do you stand by these comments? CLINTON: "You know, I share the outrage that everybody felt when the scandal was finally discovered and people began to address it. There were clearly systemic problems and those problems must be dealt with, I've already been talking about what I would do. But I am worried about some people trying to use the fact that we need to make major reforms as a justification for dismantling the VA and I think my comments were really more directed at that. I want us to fix what's wrong, I want us to make sure that anyone who's ever served our country, no matter what age, no matter when they served, gets whatever medical support that they need and I support the program that was passed to provide the opportunity if you can't get the services that you need in your VA to be able to go out and get those services in the community. But from all of my work on behalf of veterans, there's a lot about the VA that's right, a lot that works. So let's focus on what's wrong and fix it and not let anybody use that as an excuse, because there are things that have to be fixed, to try to dismantle the VA." ( WMUR Interview With Hillary Clinton, 10/28/15)

  • Clinton: "There's A Lot About The VA That's Right, A Lot That Works." CLINTON: "But from all of my work on behalf of veterans, there's a lot about the VA that's right, a lot that works. So let's focus on what's wrong and fix it and not let anybody use that as an excuse, because there are things that have to be fixed, to try to dismantle the VA." ( WMUR Interview With Hillary Clinton, 10/28/15)

Clinton Has Politicized The VA, Hypocritically Criticizing The Bush Administration During The 2008 Campaign, But Remaining Noticeably Silent During The Current VA Scandal

Clinton Was Silent During The 2014 VA Crisis Which Resulted In Deaths Of American Veterans. "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is so far silent on allegations that hospital officials doctored paperwork to cover long wait times for veterans seeking care, but as a 2008 presidential candidate she harshly criticized the care of veterans under President Bush." (Andrew Kaczynski, "Hillary Clinton Criticized VA Care Of Veterans Under Bush," BuzzFeed, 5/29/14)

  • However, When No Scandal Existed In 2008, Clinton Complained That "We Haven't Funded The VA. We Have So Many Coming Home Who Are Injured And Not Being Taken Care Of." "'As a President, President Bush has not done what we needed to do for our veterans,' Clinton said at an El Paso, Texas campaign event in February of 2008. 'We haven't funded the VA. We have so many coming home who are injured and not being taken care of. I think it is the highest obligation of the President, who is also our commander in chief, to take care of those who have served our nation.'" (Andrew Kaczynski, "Hillary Clinton Criticized VA Care Of Veterans Under Bush," BuzzFeed, 5/29/14)
  • Clinton Also Called The Bush Administration's Approach To Veterans "Cold-Hearted." "Clinton called the Bush administration's attention to veterans 'cold-hearted,' and called Walter Reed Army Medical Center 'a disgrace.' Both comments received cheers of approval from the crowd. 'Every veteran will receive benefits they have earned and the assistance they need right from the start,' she said. 'No more long waits to get an appointment. No more miles of red tape. If you need it, you will get it and we will end the cold-hearted policies that this administration has pursued, like trying to take signing bonuses away from injured soldiers.'" (David Doerr, "At Waco Rally, Clinton Questions Obama's Ability To Make Tough Decisions," The Waco Tribune-Herald, 3/1/08)

CLINTON HAS A LONG RECORD OF BEING OUT OF TOUCH ON VETERANS' MEDICAL CARE AND OVERSTATING HER RECORD

Clinton Has Exaggerated Her Role In Expanding Health Care For Veterans

In Her Presidential Campaign Bio, Clinton Says She "Worked Across The Aisle" To Expand Healthcare For Veterans. "She repeatedly worked across the aisle to get things done, including working alongside Republicans to expand TRICARE so that members of the Reserves and National Guard and their families could get better access to health care." ("Hillary's Story," Hillary For America, Accessed 4/12/15)

But According To Factcheck.org, Clinton Exaggerated Her Role In Expanding Health Care For Veterans During Her 2008 Campaign. "In a recent ad, Clinton claims members of the National Guard and military Reserve didn't have health insurance until she and a GOP colleague took action. We find the ad misleading. In fact, active-duty Guard and Reserve troops already were covered by federal insurance, and four out of five non-active-duty guardsmen and reservists already were covered by their civilian employers or other sources. Clinton did help expand and enhance health care coverage for reservists but can't claim credit for creating coverage where none existed, as this ad implies." (Emi Kolawole, "Exaggerating Help For the Troops," Factcheck.org, 12/20/07)

Clinton Has Voted Against Veterans Funding While In The Senate

Clinton Voted Against Legislation That Would Have Provided A Living Stipend To Members Of The Armed Services Studying Under The GI Bill. " A monthly stipend in an amount as follows: (i) For each month the individual pursues the program of education, other than a program of education offered through distance learning, a monthly housing stipend amount equal to the monthly amount of the basic allowance for housing payable under section 403 of title 37 for a member with dependents in pay grade E-5 residing in the military housing area that encompasses all or the majority portion of the ZIP code area in which is located the institution of higher education at which the individual is enrolled." (H.R. 2642, CQ Vote #139, Motion Agreed To 70-26; R 46-1; D 24-23; I 1-1, 5/22/08, Clinton Voted Nay)

In 2007, Clinton Voted Against The FY 2007 Iraq Emergency Spending Bill That Provided Nearly $1.8 Billion For Veterans Medical Care. (H.R. 2206, CQ Vote #181: Passed 80-14: R 42-3; D 37-10; I 1-1, 5/24/07, Clinton Voted Nay)

In 2006, Clinton Voted Against Legislation That Would Have Added $20 Million For Veterans' Health Care Facilities. "To provide, with an offset, $20,000,000 for the Department of Veterans Affairs for Medical Facilities." (H.R. 4939, CQ Vote #111: Rejected 39-59: R 35-19; D 4-39; I 0-1, 5/4/06, Clinton Voted Nay)

As First Lady, Clinton Sought To Force Veterans Health Care To Conform With Her Failed 1993 Health Care Plan, Leading To Less Choice

Clinton's 1993 Health Care Plan Would Have Organized VA Healthcare Programs "Similar To Those Serving The General Public." "Veterans care: The Department of Veterans Affairs would be able to organize its existing health centers and hospitals into health plans similar to those serving the general public, or it could allow them to provide services under contract with general health plans. People with service-connected disabilities would have the first option to join a DVA health plan, low-income veterans next, then other 'higher-income veterans.'" ("Mrs. Clinton Stumps For Health Plan," The St. Petersburg Times, 9/11/93)

Clinton's Plan Would Have "Transformed" VA Entitlements "Into A Series Of Managed Care Plans." "In this regard, the act would (1) transform VA facilities into a series of managed care plans to compete with private-sector plans and (2) expand entitlement to free comprehensive healthcare services for veterans choosing to enroll in a VA health plan." (GAO Fact Sheet For Congressional Committees On The Effects Of The Health Security Act On Veterans Healthcare," 7/15/94)

In 1994, The GAO Said "The Current VA Benefit Is More Inclusive In A Number Of Areas" When Compared To Clinton's 1993 Plan. "Our comparison of the two benefit packages shows that the current VA benefit is more inclusive in a number of areas. Because of limitations, until 2001, on mental health care and substance abuse treatment under the Health Security Act, the current VA benefit in those areas is more generous." (GAO Analysis Of The Veterans' Health Care Provisions Of The Health Security Act Of 1994, 5/9/94)

  • "Finally, VA Provides Care In Two Categories Not Mentioned In The Health Security Act-Respite Care And Domiciliary Care-And The VA Currently Reimburses Certain Veterans For Their Travel Expenses While The Act Does Not." (GAO Analysis Of The Veterans' Health Care Provisions Of The Health Security Act Of 1994, 5/9/94)

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