President Obama told the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Reno today that, under his administration, “for the first time ever” military families and returning vets are a priority.
The speech was billed as an official visit, but read like a campaign event as Obama rattled off his accomplishments and foibles of Republicans in Congress, including the standoff in which Democrats want taxes raised on the wealthy if the GOP wants the Pentagon spared from drastic sequestration cuts.
“And there are a number of Republicans in Congress who don’t want you to know that most of them voted for these cuts. Now they’re trying to wriggle out of what they agreed to,” Obama said. “Instead of making tough choices to reduce the deficit, they’d rather protect tax cuts for some of the wealthiest Americans, even if it risks big cuts in our military.”
“So let’s stop playing politics with our military. Let’s get serious and reduce our deficit and keep our military strong,” he said. “Let’s take some of the money that we’re saving because we’re not fighting in Iraq and because we’re winding down in Afghanistan — use half that money to pay down our deficit; let’s use half of it to do some nation-building here in the United States of America.”
Obama said he had kept his promise to uphold “America’s sacred trust with our veterans” including hiring thousands more claims processors at the VA.
“For the first time ever, we’ve made military families and veterans a top priority not just at DOD, not just at the VA, but across the government,” he said.
“Where we still have more to do, we will not rest,” Obama said. “That’s my vow to you. I’ve got your back. I’ve got your six.”