NRCC slams Rick Nolan's voting record on veterans issues

By KBJR News 1

August 24, 2014 Updated Aug 24, 2014 at 1:41 PM CDT

DULUTH, Minn. (NNCNOW.com) --- With less than 75 days until the November election, politicians and their campaigns are in an all out sprint to make it across the political finish line. Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District race is no exception.

Voters in the eighteen county congressional district are seeing focal points in the fall campaign, among them is veterans issues.

Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) says he is proud of his work in regards to advocating on the behalf of Minnesota veterans.

"You're going to have a hard time to find anybody in this country who championed veterans more than I have," Nolan said Saturday.

National Republicans are taking out the long knives as they condemn the Congressman's voting record.

"He (Nolan) acts more like a 1960's campus radical than a Congressman from a swing District," said Tyler Houlton, a Spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

"He has a very partisan voting record. He votes with President Obama and Democrats before putting his constituents first," Houlton added.

Republicans are slamming Nolan on three votes he took that they claim are anti–veteran.

The first vote Republicans are criticizing Nolan on is his vote against the Veteran Administration Appropriations bill in June of 2013.

"It's shocking, it's surprising. He's one of four people who actually voted against the veterans funding bill," said Rep. Greg Walden, the Chairman of the NRCC. "He claimed it was a protest vote, but when you look at what our veterans give for us and do for us and how they have been mistreated by the VA, a protest vote is not what you need in Washington."

Rep. Nolan said that is not the whole story.

"I voted against it because it didn't take care of the back log, it didn't take care of the mental health problems, it didn't allow vets to go to their local facilities, and it cut funding $300 million below what the President and the Veterans Administration had requested," Rep. Nolan said.

Still, Republicans are pointing to Nolan's vote on the 2013 appropriations bill as a sign that the Minnesota Congressman is out of touch with his veteran constituency.

"There was strong bi-partisan support for veterans and Nolan had to go do something strange and be one of four to vote no in the House. I mean that really puts you really out there on the extreme," Rep. Walden said.

Nolan says despite Congressional Republican leadership rejecting the amendments he supported, the changes he advocated for in 2013 have now been passed.

"Now I'm delighted to say that everything we have advocated for finally got included in this year's authorization and appropriations, so of course I voted for it," Rep. Nolan said.

Another bill Republicans are criticizing Rep. Nolan on is his vote against the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.

"That was to fund the Defense Department $638 billion of appropriations to go to our troops, to the defense department, to military capabilities and voting against that is against the pay raise for service members who sacrifice their lives,” Houlton said.

Rep. Nolan will face Republican challenger Stewart Mills in the November Election.

Nick Minock