Sen. Bernie Sanders joined Rachel Maddow tonight to explain why the bipartisan VA bill isn’t politics as usual. This legislation actually has a good chance of passing.
Before bringing in Sen. Sanders (I-VT), Rachel Maddow said, “Apparently, behind the scenes Sen. Sanders was working out some sort of a compromise deal with a Republican senator named John McCain, and because they were able to come to an agreement, that should mean that it won’t just be Sen. Sanders bringing up this bill again, and the Republicans all standing up against it. This could mean that the Republicans will actually vote for the bill.”
Sen. Sanders said, “In terms of the latter point, I think with Sen. McCain on board, I think with a number of Republicans on board, I think we stand a very good chance of getting something significant passed. To be very honest with you, this bill does not go anywhere near as far as I would like to go in addressing the very serious problems within the veterans’ community and within the VA, but it does a lot of very good things.”
The bill did two huge things that will go a long way towards helping the issues at the VA. The bill provides $500 million for the hiring of more doctors and staff at the VA, and it funds the construction of 26 new clinics to that will help veterans get the care that they deserve.
With McCain behind the bill, it is virtually guaranteed to get to a final vote, and it very likely that the bill will pass sometime next week. After all of the attention that this latest VA scandal has gotten, it wouldn’t be surprising if the bill got between 70-80 yes votes.
What happens to the bill after it leaves the Senate and goes to the House will be another story. House Republicans have shown zero interest in providing more funding and resources to the VA, but the political pressure on John Boehner to bring the Sanders/McCain bill to the House floor for a vote will be intense. If Boehner allows the House to vote on it, I suspect the bill will pass.
Sen. Sanders has once again delivered, and the real winners if this bill comes law, will be veterans who will finally be able to get the care that they deserve.
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