EAST MOLINE, IL - Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-East Moline) told Galesburg radio station WGIL last week that she knew the Ryan-Murray budget cut veterans pensions when she voted for it. Bustos said, "We knew there was a provision in this budget that wasn't the way we wanted it to turn out."
Republican challenger Bobby Schilling of Colona is up in arms about Bustos' support for the budget deal Republican House leader Paul Ryan made with Democrat Senator Patty Murray before the holidays. After the heat's been turned up, Bustos is now backing away from the deal. Schilling says Bustos has turned her back on thousands of veterans in her district.
"It's clear that Congresswoman Bustos hoped no one would realize she voted to slash veterans pensions, but a vote that hurts thousands of her constituents is not going to go unnoticed," Schilling said in a press statement.
"Congresswoman Bustos likes to talk about priorities, and it's clear that she has the wrong priorities when she's voting to cut veterans benefits for thousands of veterans in her district while keeping subsidies in place for illegal aliens. Our heroes deserve better."
December 12: Bustos votes for the Ryan-Murray budget deal that cut veterans pensions. Bustos then sends out a press release that makes no mention of the cuts.
December 17: The mainstream media picks up on the veterans cuts as veterans across the United States express their frustration.
December 18: Bustos says that the Ryan-Murray budget "is right for America" and still makes no mentions of the cuts.
January 3: Bustos signs on to the Military Retirement Restoration Act after weeks of doing nothing, but according to GovTrack.us the bill has a 1 percent chance of being passed through committee and a 0 percent chance of being enacted into law.
Jon Schweppe, spokesman for the Bobby Schilling for Congress campaign, said that Bustos' support for the veterans cuts restoration bill—a bill that has no chance of being enacted into law—was too little, too late.
"Congresswoman Bustos ignored the pleas of her constituents and waited a full three weeks to come out with a fix on this issue, and when she finally endorsed a fix, she signed on to a bill that has no chance of passing. Cheri Bustos absolutely failed thousands of veterans in her district, and they won't forget that in November."