McCaskill and Blunt give updates on veterans issues

Nov 9, 2011

Sen. Claire McCaskill, (D-Mo.) says she’s cautiously optimistic that management problems at Arlington National Cemetery have been solved.

The democratic senator visited the cemetery on Friday to assess changes made there following the revelation that thousands of graves were mislabeled or unmarked.

McCaskill co-sponsored a law that requires congressional oversight of the burial grounds, and requires cemetery officials to submit a grave site analysis. She says that report will be delivered December 22nd and so far, is 86 percent complete.

“There are a number of discrepancies that have been found," said McCaskill during a weekly conference call with reporters. "Thankfully this has not been who is buried where, but rather differences between the dates in the records and the dates on the marker, a lack of a marker as it relates to spouses who are buried."

McCaskill says she’s now turning her attention to the Dover military mortuary where the Air Force says workers in 2009 twice lost track of body parts of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan.  

Meanwhile, Sen. Roy Blunt, (R-Mo.)  says the Senate is expected to move forward Wednesday and eliminate a law requiring the federal, state and local government to withhold 3 percent of their payments to contractors starting in 2013.

The Republican Senator says he has been opposed to the law for a long time.

An amendment to the measure is expected later this week and would give tax credits to companies that hire veterans and to provide vets with more job training and other services. On Monday, President Obama said he expected lawmakers from both parties to approve the measure. Blunt says he agrees with the President.

“I think this is one of the examples I’ve consistently given of one of the things I could be for that the President said he’d like us to do in what I don’t think is a great jobs bill, but this a sliver of that bill that does help those we need to honor," said Blunt during a weekly conference call with reporters.

The repeal of the 3 percent withholding and the tax credits to hire veterans have bipartisan support in the Senate.