Un-American Senate Republicans Threaten to Filibuster Veterans Benefits

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Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced a bill with the most “the most comprehensive legislation for veterans to come before the Senate in decades,” per a one pager of the bill. It’s up for a vote Monday, around 3PM. This bill is chock full of very important benefits that our veterans are entitled to and should already have. It’s a bipartisan effort.

This legislation is the result of meetings with veterans’ groups and communities. It’s supported by “virtually every veterans organization in the country including The American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).” (Read theSummary.)

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So naturally, Republicans are threatening to filibuster it, ostensibly because they want a better way to pay for it. They don’t like the war savings pay-for.

Talking Points Memo’s Sahil Kapur tweeted:

And Manu Raju, Senior Congressional Reporter for POLITICO, tweeted:

To explain, the CBO is required to assume that war spending will grow each and every year based on the rate of inflation, but since we are in the drawdown phase of both wars, we won’t be spending as much money on war. The supporters of the veterans bill are saying that this money will pay for the benefits, which seems kind of fitting.

But Republicans don’t like the idea. Maybe they don’t like anything with the phrase “drawdown” or “paid for” in it, it’s hard to say (given their unfunded tax cuts under Bush, unfunded Medicare Part D, and unfunded wars).

But no matter how committed Republicans are to pretending to be fiscal conservatives when someone else is in charge, when we make promises to our veterans, we need to honor them.

Here’s what Sanders bill would mean, as laid out by a statement of support by DAV:

“This massive omnibus bill, unprecedented in our modern experience, would create, expand, advance, and extend a number of VA benefits, services and programs that are important to DAV and to our members. For example, responding to a call from DAV as a leading veterans organization, it would create a comprehensive family caregiver support program for all generations of severely wounded, injured and ill veterans. Also, the bill would authorize advance appropriations for VA’s mandatory funding accounts to ensure that in any government shutdown environment in the future, veterans benefits payments would not be delayed or put in jeopardy. This measure also would provide additional financial support to survivors of service members who die in the line of duty, as well as expanded access for them to GI Bill educational benefits. A two-plus year stalemate in VA’s authority to lease facilities for health care treatment and other purposes would be solved by this bill.”

And yet, John McCain claimed that Sanders doesn’t know what vets want. Burgess Everett, a POLITICO congressional reporter tweeted:

Apparently Senator McCain believes that he speaks for all veterans and apparently all veterans would rather not have these benefits (partial list):

Restoration of Full COLA for Military Retirees: This legislation would restore full cost-of-living adjustments for all military retirees.

• Authorization of Major Medical Facility Leases: This legislation would authorize VA to enter into 27 major medical facility leases in 18 states and Puerto Rico.

• VA Health Care and Dental Care Expansion: This legislation includes provisions that would expand access to VA health care – including complementary and alternative medicine – and dental care, in a cost-effective and equitable way.

• Advance Appropriations for VA: This legislation would ensure veterans receive consistent access to the benefits they have earned by establishing advance appropriations for the mandatory accounts at VA.

• Ending the benefits backlog: Members from both sides of the aisle have presented legislative solutions (incorporated in this bill) that would support VA’s ongoing efforts and would make needed improvements to the claims system.

• In-State Tuition Assistance for Post-9/11 Veterans: This legislation would give our transitioning servicemembers a fair shot at attaining their educational goals without incurring an additional financial burden.

McCain says, “Thanks, but no thanks,” on behalf of veterans and their families.

When it comes to insisting on paying for things a certain way, Republicans are hardly experts. This is the party that smirked “deficits don’t matter” as they racked up the charges on Obama’s credit card. Now they want Obama to pay off the entire credit card including the interest from their sprees, but without any revenue. And if he dares to try to uphold previous commitments to veterans, Republicans tell him he must pay for it their way first.

Sure, war savings are a bit of a gimmick, but then again, they’re not. Democrats prefer to spend that money on things like education and a social safety net, while Republicans are very hawkish and enjoy running about the globe invading a sovereign nation on a misguided and inaccurate whim. When the money is being spent on their invasions, Republicans don’t even bother putting the war on the budget. But when that same money is moved over into the veterans’ column, suddenly they call it a gimmick.

19 Replies to “Un-American Senate Republicans Threaten to Filibuster Veterans Benefits”

  1. Any veteran who votes for republicans are stupid, bigots or just plain ignorant. Take your pick. And yes I AM A DISABLED VETERAN

  2. If this is something that benefits veterans, especially battle tested veterans, then it is a no brainer! i understand that sen mccain is a hero, of vietnam, and a pow, which is stupifying as to why he says’no’. fill us in if youwant support, maybe it is time to change the guard if you cannot be trusted. you work for us, the people, not for your own or ‘big interests!!

  3. John McCain needs to get a life, and it won’t be speaking for me. Republicans versus Veterans is a dead end, he can tell his friends that.

  4. Senator John McCain, is married to a very rich woman. He does not need anything in the veteran’s bill. So he can’t speak for the veterans that do.

  5. First off I’m a veteran too, that being said why not 1. Cut Congressional pay in half and 2. End all oil company substities we have shed blood for their oil now they can pay the troops back. That should cover the bill.

  6. IRONY DEFINED: Day after GOP Tx Rep Sam Johnson who never met a person of color he liked nor a war he didn’t like and had a Dallas highway named after him once again sides with those who will not give vets support

  7. The hell with John McCain. As a 100% disabled vet, I am embarrassed. I was in the same time as JM. He gave up his fellow prisoners at the Hilton. Got special treatment from his captors, etc. All recorded in history.
    So what grounds does he have to badmouth this legislation?
    Remember, this is the same guy that brought us Sarah Palin.
    Bottom line. JM is a POS.

  8. Yes McCain and all of the GOP also say that all of the Veterans and their families do not need food as well. Thanks but no thanks we do not need food stamps for those that are now or have served to protect this country.
    By the way the new budget is wanting to charge more for Commissary products. So the Veterans loose food stamps while the cost of food goes up
    Thanks to all the GOP for their support of us Veterans. Be assured I will VOTE and support the GOP the way that they have shown support for me and my family.

  9. All Veterans need to be made aware of this. It needs to be in the news and should be talked about wherever Veterans meet.

  10. But he still gets Vet Benefits payments on top of Social Security and do I have to mention his congressional pension

  11. I do not understand how John McCain can be called a war hero, just because he crashed a plane and was taken prisoner. He got special treatment because of his dads position. As disabled Vietnam veteran John McCain does not speak for me. Nor do the republicans!

  12. Simple Dean, rethugs don’t like good ideas, especially when the idea comes from a Dem or one of the voters.
    Soooo– looks like all Vets had better get out on the pavement, talk to other Vets and beat them at their own game…

  13. Trouble is Kent, JM has had years of spreading bs about his time in the Service. too many people do not believe the story’s and only the men who served with him have the truth, they do not come out in numbers against his time of being a self proclaimed hero. I have always wondered why, they didn’t.

  14. One of the costs of war is properly caring for the veterans and their families. If a country is not willing to do that, then don’t go to war.

  15. You nailed it Kent. Not only was McCain a collaborator, he refused to help the families of the MIA & helped shut down any attempts to find them.

    Contrary to public perception, he was no war hero, he wasn’t tortured. His wounds and disabilities came from the crash he was in when his own incompetence as a pilot caused him to crash his own plane – AGAIN.

    He’s a traitor, has always been a traitor.

  16. Salaries, pensions, health insurance benefits must be taken from those I call, “Congressional Freeloaders” who don’t work, expect their salaries (while they collect the “bonus” of $1M from lobbyists.

    They need to be impeached, which is quicker than being voted out of office, and prevented from hold any public office in the future for at least ten.

    They don’t hesitate to send other sons, daughters, parents, off to war! Yet they are stingy with the benefits our heroes and heroines earned with their service for our country.

  17. We have @ 500/000. I think that’s right injured servicemen coming home with severe head and body issues from Bush’s wars. Of course its going to be expensive to give our vets what they need. So let’s repay them with taking every promise and trashing their sacrifices by cutting our obligations to them. Does anyone remember the state of VA hospitals under Bush. Broken water pipes, peeling paint, huge waits for treatment and care. unsanitary conditions. let’s be diligent America. Every promise broken. Yell from rooftops contact everybody. Don’t be silent. Make them honor our heroes. 2. Let’s cut congresses pensions. Take pay cuts for not working or encouraging work slow downs. What they due to us let’s do it to them.

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