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Friday, October 20, 2017
Florida Democrat Wilson no friend of veterans, vote record shows
The Florida Democrat who criticized
President Donald Trump this week for being "insensitive" toward the
widow of a U.S. soldier slain in Africa might be facing similar criticism
It turns out that U.S. Rep. Frederica
Wilson has frequently voted against measures intended to help veterans and
their families, according to VoteSmart.org, a vote-tracking site whose founding board
members included former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.
The measures that Wilson opposed
included a bill that could have ensured that families of four soldiers slain in
Afghanistan in 2013 received death and burial benefits.
In fact, Wilson’s voting record on
veterans issues may call into question the sincerity of her recent defense of
U.S. service members and their families.
Despite Wilson's claim to be
“committed to honoring our service members, not only with words but with deeds,”
she has voted against most bills ensuring continued funding for veteran
benefits, including payments to widows of fallen soldiers, the vote-tracking
She has also opposed measures
designed to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In March 2013, Wilson opposed the
“Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act,” which prevented a
government shutdown and provided funds for the U.S. military and the VA.
The bill, which passed with
bipartisan support and was signed into law by the Obama administration,
provided funding to the military and the VA until the next government shutdown
Later in the year, Wilson again voted
against a resolution aimed at ensuring benefits paid to the veterans and their
families would not be affected by the government shutdown in October that year.
The motion was particularly important
in the wake of reports that the families of four soldiers slain in Afghanistan
in 2013 had been deprived of benefits due to the shutdown in Washington.
The families of slain soldiers were
denied burial benefits and up to $100,000 to each family, among other benefits,
the New York Times reported. Wilson voted against the
resolution ensuring that the benefits reached the families.
Defense Department spokesman Carl
Woog said the department did not have “the authority to pay death gratuities
and other key benefits for the survivors of service members killed in action”
due to the government shutdown.
The congresswoman also opposed
numerous bills aimed at improving VA services provided the veterans and their
Wilson's office has not responded to
a Fox News request for a comment.
Wilson, before her Ridin' and Ropin' days
The former elementary school
principal, who first came to Congress in 2011, has been portrayed this week as
a staunch defender of the military and military families after accusing the
president of being “insensitive” toward Myeshia Johnson, widow of Sgt. La David
Johnson, one of four service members who were killed last week in the African
nation of Niger.
According to Wilson, Trump told the
grieving widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for ... but when it
happens, it hurts anyway.” But Trump, in a response on Twitter, said Wilson had
“totally fabricated what I said.”
White House press secretary Sarah
Sanders said Wednesday that Wilson’s attack on the president using the
soldier’s widow was “appalling and disgusting.”
The congresswoman has stood by her
account of the call.