The Netroots’ Massa Lays Out Veteran Health Care Plan

From tireless intern Bharat Ayyar:

Congressional hopeful Eric Massa, a retired Navy commander, held a conference call with reporters this morning, and outlined his plan for veteran health care, which he says has been neglected by Washington.

“I don’t care how much it costs. I don’t care,” Massa said. He added later, “Supporting our veterans is not a matter of cost. It’s a matter of political will.”

Massa, who raised an impressive sum of $298,156 during the filing period that just ended, wants to introduce legislation that would not only mandate full funding of the Veterans Administration but also permit veterans who are too far from a V.A. facility to receive care at any health care facility.

He issued a sharp rebuke of his opponent in the Southern Tier‘s 29th district, Randy Kuhl, for voting “present” on Jim Webb’s new G.I. Bill, calling the decision “grossly fiscally irresponsible.” The bill included a half-percent tax increase on those earning at least $500,000.

“That alone is cause for him not to return to Washington,” Massa said.

Massa, who has the support of the DCCC’s "Red to Blue" program, recently held a press conference with two fellow upstate Democratic Congressional challengers.

One, Dan Maffei of Syracuse, is a formidable fund-raiser who nearly unseated Jim Walsh in 2006. (Walsh is now retiring.) Jon Powers of Buffalo, an Iraq veteran also in the DCCC’s "Red to Blue" program, has lots of support from Democratic organizations.

But Powers is facing a primary fight with the wealthy Jack Davis, who was behind the lawsuit that ultimately overturned what was often called the "millionaire’s amendment." The winner of that primary, in which Alice Kryzan is also a candidate, will compete for an open seat, since Representative Tom Reynolds is retiring.

All three are darlings of the Netroots blogs, where Davis and Kuhl draw a great deal of criticism.