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Does Rep. Braun support his “hero’s” efforts that increased veteran suicide rate as Senator Coburn comes to town?

INDIANAPOLIS – Former Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), a man known to most for single-handedly stopping a bill to prevent veteran suicides and to Rep. Braun as his role model and political “hero,” comes to Indianapolis today to campaign with the Senate candidate, but it’s unclear if Rep. Braun supports his policies that were deadly for veterans.

Coburn’s visit to Indiana comes shortly after Rep. Braun brought him up in Monday’s debate, calling the Oklahoma senator his political “hero.” It was a surprising show of support for an anti-veteran senator notorious for advocating for deep cuts to military spending and repeated attempts to block legislation designed to help veterans. Yet it was in keeping with the rest of Rep. Braun’s debate performance, where he refused to deny he supports cuts to defense spending and would have voted against the largest pay raise for service members in nine years.

If elected, Rep. Braun would have to work hard to match his “hero’s” long record of voting against protecting the lives of veterans. Coburn is most known for single-handedly blocking the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. Coburn’s decision to block the bill in the face of overwhelming bipartisan support was called “dangerous and dishonorable” by the Afghanistan Veterans of America, who decried the efforts of “one single senator to simply complain about and block efforts to combat veterans suicide.”

Rep. Braun has heaped praise on Senator Coburn throughout the campaign, and even received his endorsement in the GOP primary. However, he’s failed to say whether he supports any specific vote in the Senator’s long history of siding against Hoosier veterans.

“If Rep. Braun cared about helping Hoosier veterans, he would have refused to accept the endorsement of a man best known for single-handedly blocking legislation to help prevent veterans from committing suicide and denounced him. Instead, he started this week by anointing him as his political hero and campaigns with him today,” said Michael Feldman, spokesman for the Indiana Democratic Party. “If Rep. Braun was in the Senate with Senator Coburn, would he have spoken out against his efforts to block the Clay Hunt Act, or joined his hero? Hoosier veterans need to know if they’re ever going to trust him.”

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