Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell Take Turns Criticizing Obama During VFW Convention
Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul each criticized the Obama Administration while speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ National Convention, though they focused on separate issues.For Paul, a main theme was U.S. military intervention overseas.In a speech Monday, Paul criticized Obama for sending aid to Egypt both before and after the ouster of the dictator Hosni Mubarak.“Common sense tells us that we probably shouldn’t be sending our aid to military dictators or to the Muslim Brotherhood," Paul said.Meanwhile, McConnell criticized the backlog for veterans to receive VA disability benefits. He said the issue "demands attention from the very top."“At the beginning of 2009, there were 390,000 claims filed by veterans and awaiting action—way, way too many," McConnell said. "Today, however, that backlog has almost doubled in number. This is totally unacceptable."
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also addressed the convention. Hagel, who is a former Republican senator, spoke largely of the Defense Department’s financial condition and need to modernize.He said those efforts will lead to difficult choices.“Strengthening readiness will ultimately demand that we address unsustainable growth in personnel costs, which represent half of the Defense Department’s budgets right now and it crowds out vital spending on training and modernization," Hagel said.He criticized efforts to stave off reforms and cost-saving measures, saying they hampered military readiness.