If you answered Conrad Burns, you are correct. As Senator Conrad Burns continues to tour the state trying to shore up support from Montana Veterans, many people ask if this is the same Senator who repeatedly has voted against the interests of veterans. The answer is, unfortunately yes. In this last year, Burns voted against a $1.98 billion increase for veteran’s healthcare which would have included $1 billion for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. He voted against increasing the military death gratuity which would have given surviving families of those killed in action a $100,000 death gratuity. Burns also voted against an amendment which would have bolstered the pay of federal employees activated by the National Guard or Reserves. Montana recently has had 1,500 Army Reserve and National Guard troops serving overseas with 44% of the Guard being called to active duty. Even after repeated warnings of budget shortfalls in the VA, on March 16 Burns failed to support an amendment which would have increased veterans’ medical care by $2.8 billion.
Montanans have always sent their men and women into the armed forces in disproportionately high numbers. In fact, Montana now has the highest percentage of veterans in its population, more than any other state. And we in Montana should be damn proud of that fact. Many of our veterans in Montana rely on the Veterans Administration as their sole source of medical care. As Conrad Burns touts his own military service, he continues to vote against the needs of those brave men and women who served honorably in our armed forces. Senator Burns, the veterans of this country have kept their promises to this country, we urge you to keep your country’s promises to its veterans. As a veteran yourself, there is no excuse for not supporting your fellow veterans.