The Democratic candidate for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional Dist., Rose faces Scott in the November 6 general election.
On Monday, retired Sen. Larry Pressler (R-S.D.) announced his backing of Pres. Barack Obama.
A primary reason for his party-switching endorsement was a personal one, he says in his October 8 editorial. A Vietnam War veteran, Pressler notes that Republican candidates “Romney and Ryan are pandering to election-year politics rather than focusing on pending cuts to military spending.”
Approximately $11 billion in cuts to veterans’ benefits were included in the original Ryan Budget, which Rose points out was readily supported by Scott when introduced to congress earlier this year.
In a recent Post & Courier article, Scott defended his stance on veterans funding, claiming it actually increased in the House budget.
However, “he was an advocate supporter (of the Ryan Budget),” Rose says, “even though those $11 billion in cuts included a $6 billion chop from Veterans Administration healthcare alone.”
Not only does this cut many thousands of veterans from benefits, but the Veterans Administration is already underfunded to care for our soldiers, too, she says, pointing out how veterans currently face a waiting time of eight months before claims are handled.
This delay directly affects thousands of recently-returned soldiers afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which Pressler also has, and which he acknowledges is part of the basis of his Obama endorsement.
Rose says this circumstance of veteran PTSD should have higher prominence to Scott due to the high presence of military veterans in the 1st Congressional Dist. – over 14 percent of the adult population in the area are veterans, as opposed to only 9.1 percent nationwide.
“The many local veterans with this prominent disorder will be neglected by Scott,” Rose argues. “He even said so himself.”
At a Town Hall meeting in North Charleston earlier this year, Scott told constituents he fully favored the proposed Defense budget even though he had “no doubt about” its inclusion of wasteful spending.
He said he didn’t support veterans’ PTSD therapy, however, because he finds its costs to be “astronomical.”
Scott’s voting record has a pattern of disregard for veterans’ interests, as well. In 2011, for example, he voted against a measure that intended to direct an additional $20 million to programs for veterans’ suicide prevention and post-traumatic stress disorder (H.R. 2055).
“Scott openly acknowledges and fully accepts wasteful Defense spending, but has the audacity to question spending on vets’ benefits,” says Rose.
Pressler represented South Dakota in U.S. Congress from 1975 to 1997, with 18 of those 22 years as senator. He also briefly campaigned for president in 1980.
In 2000, he was a member of the steering committee for George W. Bush’s campaign, and was part of the Bush Transition Team after that election.
Pressler also endorsed Obama in 2008, “the first time I ever voted for a Democrat,” he says.