On Thursday, the Mitch McConnell-led Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have improved veterans benefits. It was truly a “shameful display of partisan obstruction”, just as Jason Easley called it.
Since there are nearly 340,000 veterans in Kentucky, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Alison Lundergan Grimes called out her opponent, Republican Mitch McConnell, for his vote to kill the veterans benefits bill with a cowardly procedural vote.
In a statement, Ms. Grimes took McConnell to task, “Mitch McConnell’s voting record against Kentucky’s veterans and military families is inexcusable.” She continued, “It is not enough to simply offer words and empty rhetoric — we must follow through with action in support of our veterans.”
The Democrat shamed McConnell for failing to live up to our promises to our veterans, “My opponent clearly disagrees. Whether they fought in Korea or Afghanistan, we must keep our promises to our returned service men and women and deliver on our responsibility to them just as they have for each of us. They deserve to share in the economic opportunity they bravely fought to protect.”
Grimes also supports renewing the VOW to Hire Heroes Act.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the bill Republicans killed in a tricky procedural move similar to a filibuster. Sanders is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, so the fact that the bill touts “the most comprehensive legislation for veterans to come before the Senate in decades” should not come as a surprise.
Mitch McConnell’s disdain for our veterans isn’t new. In 2012, he led forty Republican members of the Senate to betray veterans by killing a jobs bill for veterans. The Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012 would have spent $1 billion over five years to put veterans to work tending to federal lands, and in the nation’s police and fire departments.
Again in 2012, Republican leadership in the Senate quietly condoned the actions of a single coward who put a hold on a cost of living increase for disabled veterans, just so they could play petty partisan politics with Obama and deny him a “win”.
Republicans were shocked during their 2012 fiscal cliff disaster when President Obama fought with Republicans, insisting that benefits for disabled people and veterans not be cut.
Doesn’t it just make you want to wave a flag while failing to live up to our promises to our wounded warriors?
And then there is the Republican sequester (they are on record as championing it and pushing for it and gloating about getting it on Fox News — it’s only when confronted with the results that they deny any knowledge of it and blame Democrats). In June 2013, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported that Fort Knox would lose 3,300 troops in the next six years because of defense spending reductions.
The list of Republican perfidy on veterans issues is too long to innumerate here in anything remotely resembling its entirety. But one thing is for sure — Mitch McConnell has met his match, because Alison Lundergan Grimes isn’t going to be quiet about his hypocrisy.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.