Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack is to visit the Veterans Administration Hospital in Iowa City later this morning. "It seems to me…my first concern has to be for our soldiers…people we put in harm’s way to protect America, to protect America’s interests," Loebsack says.

Loebsack, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, says a "tragedy" has unfolded at Walter Reed Hospital near the nation’s capitol where hundreds of troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan have reportedly received shoddy care. "To me this is scandalous," Loebsack says. "…This has to be dealt with."

Loebsack, who just returned from a trip to Iraq, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. Loebsack says the U.S. government will not only have to spend more to care for the veterans of the war in Iraq, but on military equipment that’s been damaged or destroyed. "The Iraq war has essentially put us in a big hole as far as any potential conflicts we may have to get involved in," Loebsack says.  "…I am concerned about the role of America in the world and I am concerned about us being prepared for any possible contingencies down the line."

Loebsack says he wants U.S. troops to be out of Iraq within a year, and he supports a plan in congress that sets "benchmarks" for progress in Iraq, and links continued funding for the troops on the ground to reaching those criteria.

Loebsack is scheduled to tour the V.A. Hospital in Iowa City at 9:45 this morning and then sit down for a meeting with hospital administrators.