McConnell criticizes VA for claims backlog

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says a backlog of disability claims handled by the Veterans Affairs Department is a "national disgrace."

The Kentucky Republican told the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention Monday the problem demands attention from the top of the command chain. He said President Barack Obama should get involved to end the backlog.

The VA pays disability benefits to veterans who are injured or become ill as a result of their active service.

In late March, about 70 percent of claims were pending longer than 125 days. But the department has taken steps to try to deal with the backlog.

McConnell and fellow Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul spoke at the VFW convention in Louisville.

Paul spoke out against U.S. military aid to Egypt, Pakistan and Syrian rebels.

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