Washington, D.C.– In the wake of presidential debt commission co-chair Alan Simpson’s Aug. 31 remark that “the veterans who saved this country are now, in a way, not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess” – because of the costs of treating Agent Orange exposure – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva called on President Obama to dismiss Simpson from the commission.
“This man has become completely unaccountable to anyone but himself,” Grijalva said. “Once again, rather than treating his responsibilities with humility and respect, he is casting the most vulnerable Americans as the causes of our budget shortfalls. For any reasonable person, this has to be the final straw. Sen. Simpson should not serve on this commission or any other.”
Grijalva called on Simpson Aug. 25 to recuse himself voluntarily after he called Social Security “a milk cow with 310 million tits” and wrote to the head of the National Older Women’s League, “Call when you get honest work!” Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs subsequently said Simpson had apologized and would remain in his position.
“Of all the people in public service, Alan Simpson was chosen to lead a commission that is trying to put America on a sound financial footing despite the fact that he doesn’t understand how Social Security works and is insensitive to the people he’s supposed to protect,” Grijalva said. “There is no reason to keep him a minute longer. If he feels that Social Security recipients and veterans are more of a financial threat to our country than endless wars overseas and excessive tax cuts for top earners, he knows even less than his latest string of embarrassing comments indicate. President Obama needs to replace him with someone who actually cares about the health and well-being of this country, and he needs to do so as soon as possible.”
Rather than “kicking the wounded,” Grijalva said, the commission should talk seriously about the major contributors to the deficit, including our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“If we really want to talk about saving money, let’s talk about reducing our bloated military budget and sunsetting the overreaching Bush-era tax cuts,” Grijalva said. “The fact that Alan Simpson thinks Agent Orange treatment is more expensive and important than a trillion-dollar war bill speaks volumes about his priorities. What has Alan Simpson done to deserve his position of power over millions of American livelihoods? I ask President Obama today to put the country first and replace Simpson without delay.”