Wisconsin lawmakers address national American Legion convention in Milwaukee

Wisconsin lawmakers address national American Legion convention in Milwaukee

Matt Smith - WISN

The American Legion is hosting its national convention this week at The Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee.

On Tuesday, the group heard from a number of lawmakers, including U.S. Reps. Scott Fitzgerald and Rep. Gwen Moore and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.

"I can assure you, we are not done," Moore told the group. "I can tell you in an era where bipartisanship is sought for, I can say from my own experience that the best chance you have of getting bipartisan legislation across the finish line is to support our American heroes."

Fitzgerald, a veteran, spoke of his work not only in Congress but previously in the Wisconsin Legislature.

"The American Legion, and your tireless advocacy efforts will continue to shape policy on Capitol Hill and in the state legislatures across this nation," Fitzgerald said. "I'm confident you will continue to hold the legislatures accountable to ensure no veteran is left behind by Congress."

Johnson, in a fierce re-election fight against Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, spent part of his speech defending votes on legislation that expands healthcare benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits.

Johnson ultimately voted for the bipartisan legislation that is now law but was first among a group of Republicans who held up the bill's final passage over spending concerns.

"People used it to scare our veterans when there was no need for that whatsoever," Johnson said. "It was never in doubt that Congress was going to pass whatever appropriation was necessary to take care of our veterans that suffered harm from burn pits."

The convention runs through Thursday. The group will hear Wednesday from Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough.

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