July 27, 2014

Fischer says nation needs to take better care of veterans (AUDIO)

US Senate candidate Deb Fischer addresses the media during news conference at VFW in Lincoln

Republican United States Senate candidate Deb Fischer unveiled the Veterans for Fischer Coalition and stated even the nation’s defense and care for its veterans must be in the mix as the nation deals with the federal budget deficit.

“Nothing’s off the table,” Fischer stated during a news conference at the Department of  Nebraksa VFW in Lincoln. “You know, I’ve said that before. Every option needs to be on the table. But I think I’m making it clear that our veterans are a priority.”

Fischer outlined five priorities for veterans during the news conference. Fischer called for the completion of the Integrated Electronic Health Record system to improve healthcare for veterans.

She said the backlog of claims at the Veterans Administration must be reduced and the process for filing a claim be made more accessible.

“Right now, we have over 866,000 claims that are awaiting processing,” according to Fischer. “In 2001, to process a claim took an average of 181 days. Today, it takes an average of 257 days. That is unacceptable.”

Fischer supported continuation of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides an incentive for businesses to hire veterans. She advocated allowing disabled veterans to receive both full military retired pay as well as disability compensation. Fischer also called for an audit of the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration to cut waste and improve efficiency.

And while Fischer repeated her assertion that nothing should be off the table in efforts to cut the federal deficit, she strongly opposed the automatic budget cuts totaling nearly $1 trillion which would go into effect if Congress doesn’t act.

“That cannot happen,” Fischer stated. “I am hopeful that Congress will step up, make the tough decisions when it comes to sequestration and make sure that we don’t go over that fiscal cliff.”

A special budget-cutting committee failed to reach agreement, triggering automatic cuts that will take effect at the beginning of the year if Congress doesn’t step in to stop them.

AUDIO: US Senate candidate, Republican Deb Fischer, holds news conference at Lincoln VFW. [4:30]