A Democratic senator yesterday accused US President George W. Bush of "hollow talk" in support of US troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and said the Bush administration has not done nearly enough to provide veterans with the care they need.
"The president can call on Democrats to follow him in lockstep all he wants, but when it comes to caring for our veterans, we are not about to start taking advice from George Bush," said Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state.
Bush scolded Democrats on Thursday for combining spending bills for defense and veterans programs with one for labor, health and education matters. Republicans consider the bill bloated.
The president also lamented that his emergency spending request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan still languishes.
Murray, delivering the Democrats' weekly radio address, accused Bush of underfunding the Veterans Affairs Department and said thousands of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are "stuck in a bureaucratic nightmare" and are not getting the health care they need.
MISSING VETERAN DATA
The senator said the number of uninsured veterans has skyrocketed in recent years.
The administration also lost the personal data of millions of veterans and failed to correct shoddy outpatient treatment and poor living conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, she said.
Murray, the fourth-ranking Democratic senator, defended a Democratic bill that pays for veterans programs and other priorities such as education and medical research.
The bill provides thousands of new case workers to help reduce delays for treatment, improves conditions at Walter Reed and other facilities and invests in new ways to treat ailments such as post-traumatic stress disorder, she said.