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- McConnell Calls on President to Do More to Help with VA Backlog of Disability Claims
On Wednesday, during a speech before the Louisville Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Senator McConnell called the lengthy backlog of VA disability claims a "national disgrace" and said President Obama needs to get directly involved in trying to fix the problem.
"An issue this important demands attention from the very top. The commander-in-chief must hold the VA accountable. His leadership is essential to addressing this problem," McConnell said.
Nearly 750,000 veterans are stuck in the backlog. Over 60 percent of those waiting have been waiting for more than four months.
The President recently acknowledged that much needs to be done to end the backlog, but only after Senator McConnell raised the VA backlog issue last month during his remarks at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in Louisville.
He added, "I'm encouraged the President is stepping up to this task, however, he needs to do more."
Senator McConnell has personally advocated and will continue to advocate that the President take direct action and involvement to end the VA backlog.
- The President's War on Coal closes Ashland plant, McConnell Weighs in with the EPA on behalf of the City of Ashland
On Wednesday, Senator McConnell personally expressed his concerns with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the clean-up and redevelopment of former AK Steel Coke Plant in Ashland, Kentucky.
Placing the call from Kentucky, Senator McConnell urged the EPA to consider a proposal submitted by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (KEEC) to transfer jurisdiction over the plant's clean-up from the federal government to the state. Sen. McConnell also sent a letter to the Obama Administration on the matter earlier this week.
According to company officials, the decision to close the plant was the result of significantly higher operational costs related to the Obama Administration's War on Coal and the EPA's increasingly stringent regulations. The closing, which has been devastating to Ashland, resulted in the loss of approximately 350 jobs in the region. This blow comes to a region already burdened by high unemployment brought on by costly regulations to the coal industry. Direct mining employment in Eastern Kentucky has fallen by over 40 percent since 2011, a loss of over 5,700 jobs.
"A timely clean-up and redevelopment of the plant is essential for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the City of Ashland," Senator McConnell said. "Allowing the Kentucky EEC to lead the clean-up effort will expedite this process. The sooner the property can be cleaned and redeveloped, the sooner it can be purchased by another industrial user and create jobs in the Ashland community."
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