Inouye accuses GOP
of neglecting troops

But House and Senate negotiators came up
with $1.5 billion for veterans' care

WASHINGTON » Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, an Army veteran who lost his right arm in World War II, criticized Republicans yesterday for not doing enough to help troops fighting in or returning from Iraq.

In the Democrats' weekly radio address, Inouye said Senate Republicans were focusing on legislation sought by the gun lobby while ignoring the needs of troops.

On Tuesday, the Senate put off completing a $491 billion defense bill to act on the National Rifle Association's top priority: shielding gun manufacturers and dealers from liability suits stemming from gun crimes.

"For years, we've heard the president and congressional Republicans speak eloquently about honoring our troops," Inouye said. "But this week, when push came to shove, their priorities were different."

But congressional action earlier in the week seemed to contradict the senator's accusations. House and Senate members had agreed Tuesday to provide $1.5 billion to close a budgetary gap for the Veterans Affairs Department as it deals with additional costs of caring for veterans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The gun bill cleared the Senate 65-31 Friday.

Sen. Daniel Inouye

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