Republicans have been crying a river of crocodile tears over how much they care about veterans, but back in February, Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have expanded veterans’ benefits because it was, “too expensive.”
Earlier this week, Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and John Thune tried to blame President Obama for the problems at the VA. On the Senate floor, Rubio said, “BUT THAT THERE’S BEEN A DELIBERATE EFFORT BY SOME WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATION, SOME WITHIN THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION TO COVER IT UP OR TO MAKE THINGS LOOK BETTER THAN THEY ACTUALLY ARE. AND THAT SHOULD TROUBLE US EVEN MORE, BECAUSE THE IMMEDIATE REACTION WHEN AN AGENCY IS CONFRONTED WITH A PROBLEM SHOULD BE, WE NEED TO FIX THIS.”
However, the same Senate Republicans who are now claiming to be a friend to our veterans, shamefully blocked a bill in February that would have expanded and improved care for vets. The bill by Sen. Bernie Sanders contained provisions that would have restored the COLA for vets, and protected them from losing their benefits in the event of another government shutdown. It also would have authorized the construction of 27 new clinics and medical facilities, and it would have provided tuition assistance to post-9/11 vets. The bill failed by a 56-41 vote as only two Republicans joined with Democrats in supporting it.
Those 27 new clinics and facilities that Republicans blocked would certainly come in handy now.
Video of a CNN report on the Republicans blocking the vets bill via Bernie Sanders:
The good news is that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is working with the White House to reintroduce the bill that would expand veterans’ benefits and also contain new accountability measures for the VA. The bad news is that Republicans like Marco Rubio are already complaining that the 10 year/$21 billion bill is too expensive.
Senate Republicans love our veterans so much that they block a bill that would have built dozens of new VA clinics and facilities, blame President Obama for the VA scandal, then turn around and threaten to block a second attempt at building more facilities because they think it is too expensive.
Two billion dollars a year for ten years is too much money to spend on the people who risked their lives for their country. That is what Senate Republicans really think of veterans.
Every day, that construction gets delayed more vets are at risk of dying while stuck on waiting lists. That is a real world consequence of Senate Republican obstruction.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association