Democrat Bruce Braley says those who want to know his commitment to our nation's veterans need only look at the website of his Senate campaign.
"If people want to know my true record on standing up for veterans, they can go to my website and look at Braley Truth Team where it lays out all of the things I've done for veterans in eight years," said the Iowa congressman in his debate this weekend with his GOP opponent, state senator Joni Ernst.
Ernst herself is an active-duty officer in the Iowa National Guard.
Here's what Braley's page on veterans says:
Bruce Braley believes that our country should support our troops not only when they’re fighting abroad, but when they return home. That’s why he’s worked so hard for America’s military veterans. Braley introduced and passed a law to give tax breaks to companies that hire veterans returning from duty, unemployed veterans, and wounded warriors. Braley also successfully took on the Pentagon to secure overdue combat pay for 800 Iowa National Guard troops who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and helped secure full GI Bill education benefits that were initially denied to 600 Iowa National Guard soldiers.
Since at least 2012, Braley has been claiming to "fight for veterans every day", but as the Des Moines Register reported this summer, Braley has frequently missed House oversight hearings on the Department of Veterans Affairs. Some of these hearings he missed featured testimony about mismanagement at VA hospitals across the country, which became a full-fledged scandal earlier this year. One 2012 hearing he missed was held on a day where Braley attended three fundraisers in Washington instead.
On the day of another hearing, during which then-VA secretary Eric Shinseki testified, Braley was attending a union-hosted fundraiser. The issue of Braley's absence from VA hearings even made it into an ad from conservative super PAC American Crossroads, and PolitiFact, a fact-checking organization that's no friend to Republicans, says the claim that Braley missed 79 percent of hearings on the VA "mostly true."
The race between Braley and Ernst has been close, despite the state's Democratic tilt of recent years. A new poll from the Des Moines Register, however, found Ernst opening up a 6-point lead over Braley, 44 percent to 38 percent. The Real Clear Politics average of polls gives the Republican a 2.2-point lead.