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Congresswoman Chellie Pingree criticizes former Senator for veterans comment

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Says veterans deserve treatment for diseases related to Agent Orange exposure

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said Friday that she strongly disagrees with a statement by former Senator Alan Simpson about veterans and the deficit. Simpson is a co-chair of President Obama's deficit reduction commission.

"Senator Simpson blamed disabled veterans for adding to our deficit and that's just plain wrong," Pingree said. "Taking care of our veterans isn't optional or something that should be up for debate by some commission, it's a commitment we have made to everyone who puts on our country's uniform and one that should be unbreakable."

Pingree supported a recent expansion of benefits for Vietnam veterans who suffer from illnesses linked to Agent Orange exposure, which will make it easier for those veterans to receive the care and compensation they deserve. But just days after the expanded benefits were announced, Senator Simpson criticized the expansion and said veterans are contributing to the country's budget deficit.

"There is no question that we have to reduce our budget deficit," Pingree said. "But we shouldn't be doing it on the backs of veterans."


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