RNC targets Dems with robocalls about veterans benefits

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The Republican National Committee will begin targeting Democrats with shutdown-themed robocalls Monday that accuse them of playing politics with veterans’ benefits.

The ads hit DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, and North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan. They are intended to begin reaching constituents while the targeted Democrats are likely in their districts for Columbus Day.

“SENATOR (XX) and Senate Democrats think this shutdown is a game,” the script for the ads targeting the senators reads. “They are playing politics by cutting off our veterans and their benefits. In a bi-partisan vote the House of Representatives wanted to make sure our veterans got the benefits they earned for fighting for our freedoms. But, SENATOR (XX) won’t negotiate. These men and women served our country with honor and yet SENATOR (XX) would rather put partisan politics ahead of honoring our commitment to the people who defended this country. Call SENATOR (XX) at xxx-xxx-xxxx and tell him/her to stand up for veterans and demand a vote in the Senate.”

The robocalls targeting Wasserman Schultz adhere to a slightly different script which notes that “she voted to cut off Florida’s veterans and their benefits while the government is shutdown.”

According to the Democratic National Committee, however, it is Republicans who are being obstructionist.

“The GOP shut down the government trying to take away people’s access to health care and they’ve kept it shut for two weeks because they didn’t get what they want,”  spokesman Michael Czin emailed TheDC. “Maybe instead of trying to deflect blame, they ought to just do their jobs and vote to reopen the government.  The votes are there.  What are they waiting for?”

The House has passed a resolution to temporarily fund the Department of Veterans Affairs, but the Democratically-controlled Senate has not passed it, or a number of House-passed piecemeal funding measures, arguing instead for an end to the shutdown.

President Barack Obama signed legislation last week to reinstate death benefits for the surviving family members of fallen soldiers.

On Tuesday, a coalition of 33 veteran and military service organizations are planning to call for an end to the government shutdown due to the harmful impact it had had on the nation’s military readiness and service member benefits in front of the World War II Memorial.

*This story has been updated with Czin’s response

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