Bi-partisan group grades local congressional leaders on veteran issues

A week after a partisan think tank released its results from a congressional grade card dealing with national security, a non-partisan group has released its grade card on veteran’s issues and the results are very different.
The Center for Security Policy released its report two weeks ago, giving failing grades to Missouri Democrats Sen. Claire McCaskill and Congressman Ike Skelton while giving 100 percent grades to Missouri Republican Sen. Kit Bond and House Minority Whip Roy Blunt.
Last week, the non-partisan group, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America released their 2008 Congressional grade card and this time congressional Democrats received a better grade.
McCaskill scored an A+ with the group while Skelton scored an A.
McCaskill was unavailable for comment, but her Press Secretary Maria Speiser said the difference in the reports reflects votes that truly benefited veterans’ issues that were widely supported on both sides of the aisle as opposed to just looking at votes tied to a specific political agenda.
“The rankings themselves are evidence that quite a few other members of the Missouri delegation got very high scores, including those that are members of the Republican party like Sen. Bond and Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson,” Speiser said. “They both received As from this organization.”
Skelton’s office released this statement from Skelton, “Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked on behalf of our military veterans and their families, and I am proud of my record. We must ensure that our service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and the heroes from our previous conflicts receive the care and benefits they have earned and deserve.”
The group based its report card on 22 key votes during the 110th Congress. Nine votes were in the Senate and 13 were in the House. The number one priority for the group in 2008 was the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill followed by fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs. The group’s mission is to lobby for more increased benefits for disabled veterans, suicide prevention and improved treatment for traumatic brain injuries.
Congressman Sam Graves and Senator Bond both received an A, but fellow Republican Blunt received a B and Missouri candidate for Governor Kenny Hulshof received a C from the group.
Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama received a B from the group, while his challenger Republican Sen. John McCain received a D, which was a failing grade according to the IAVA report.

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