CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Bernie Sanders told veterans in Iowa Friday that unlike some other politicians, he doesn't pay lip service to their concerns.
"It is very easy to raise the flag at a troop deployment, it is very easy for a politician to give a moving speech on Veterans Day," Sanders said. "But it is very hard to go down that long road with the men and women who served and make sure that they continue to get all the benefits, all the healthcare, that they are entitled to for the rest of their lives."
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The Vermont senator told the crowds that he was "more than aware" of the Veteran Affairs budget problems and the national debt we have now, but he explained that we have a "deeper debt" to our veterans, and that standing by them is this country's primary moral obligation.
Sanders served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs from 2013-15, during which he introduced the Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act to increase disability compensation rates for veterans and their families. In 2014, Sanders and Republican Sen. John McCain co-wrote the Veterans Access to Care Through Accountability and Transparency Act to reform the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill was in response to the VA scandal.
"I've heard Bernie Sanders' stance so far, I'm still waiting to hear something from Hillary," said Joe Stutler, communications officer for the Iowa Democratic Party's Veteran Caucus. "But I'm glad to hear a campaign finally starting to talk to veterans."
"He's done well with veterans," Stutler added. "He got that award from the national veterans association. He's getting recognized for doing that service so that tells me a lot."