Biden praises veterans for their sacrifices

Vice President Joe Biden addresses the national convention of the American Federation of Teachers in Detroit, Sunday, July 29, 2012.
AP Photo/The Detroit News, David Guralnick

(AP) LAS VEGAS - Vice President Joe Biden told a gathering of veterans Saturday that President Barack Obama is "committed to the core" to taking care of service members returning from war.

Urging higher taxes on the rich, Biden said politicians should take a cue from veterans in setting tax policy.

"We can all take a page from your book — a sense of shared sacrifice and the understanding that all of us, all of us have to do our part," Biden said.

Biden's remarks came during the Disabled American Veterans' national convention Saturday morning at Bally's Hotel in Las Vegas, where Biden lauded the military and praised the Obama administration for the capture of Osama bin Laden.

An estimated 4,000 people are attending the convention to discuss issues such as mental health care for returning veterans and a backlog of Veterans Affairs disability claims.

Biden told the crowd the Obama administration has increased funding to veterans by 30 percent, and promised to end a massive backlog of disability claims by 2015.

He also criticized members of Congress, saying they were playing political "brinksmanship" with looming cuts due to hit military and domestic programs on Jan. 2.

(Biden accuses GOP of playing "brinksmanship" with sequester cuts.)

"Look, we're going to get through this in my view, but this is a hell of a way to do business," Biden said. "We owe our military more certainty."

Biden's visit comes after Obama a day after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned in North Las Vegas. Both candidates are competing fiercely for Nevada's six electoral votes ahead of the November election.

Danny Pagan, a retired, 28-year Army veteran from Conyers, Georgia, said he was impressed by the speech and said he's seen Obama policies helping veterans firsthand.

"The president is doing what he said he's doing for veterans and that's what it's all about," Pagan said.

Stacy Tuck, a Disabled American Veterans member from Kaysville, Utah, said the administration has "stepped up" to help veterans, but was more skeptical about Biden's broad promises.

"People tell you what you want to hear," she said.