Democratic Presidential Candidate Chris Dodd is talking about his plan to support the country’s war veterans.
Dodd says in his opinion, there’s no higher priority than the safety and well being of America’s military personnel and veterans.
The Connecticut Senator says some veterans are waiting up to six months to see if they qualify for medical care and disability benefits.
“That is why one of the very first steps I’ll take as President of the United States is to overhaul the disability and compensation system, which is a mess, and a disaster, and an embarrassment in my view” Dodd said this morning in Des Moines. He spoke at the Iowa Paralyzed Veterans of America Hall. Dodd says, if elected, he would require disability determinations for soldiers within 30 days of their entrance into the VA system.
In addition, full benefits would be mandated to start within two weeks of that determination. Dodd also supports extending the Family and Medical Leave Act for up to six month to spouses and parents of veterans injured in combat. Recently, soldiers with an Iowa National Guard unit that returned from Iraq were denied education benefits because their tour of duty fell just days short of the time requirement.
“Anybody in uniform who serves in harm’s way for whatever period of time, in a Dodd administration, will qualify for the G.I. Bill…you shouldn’t have to be cut short by a few days,” Dodd said. Dodd estimates the cost of his plan for veterans at $19 billion. “It’s a two months in Iraq is what we’re talking about here,” Dodd said. “It’s (costing America) $10 billion a month in Iraq…less than two months of the cost of that conflict would allow me to do everything we’ve talked about here in terms of our veterans.”
Dodd suggests the proposal could be paid for “by reducing tax breaks on multi-millionaires.” Dodd left Des Moines to attend community forums on veteran’s issues in Knoxville, Burlington, and Bettendorf. He’ll hold another forum Thursday morning in Coralville.