Freedom Isn’t Free: Republicans Refuse to Compromise on VA Reform


reagan quote


What is the cost of protecting our freedoms?


For Republicans, the answer to that question is simple:  $10 billion and not a penny more.


As the House and Senate lurch toward their well-deserved August recess, one major issue still on the table remains the funding needed to address the country’s broken VA system.  The House and Senate have both passed bills allowing veterans facing long wait times the option of seeking private health care as well as making it easier to discipline senior agency managers.  However, the major unresolved issues revolve around just how much money the government will give the VA in order to help fix the system that has done a tremendous injustice to our nation’s veterans.


There’s no way this could ever become a partisan issue, right?


Wrong.  The issue of VA funding boiled over this week as the members of the committee designed to compromise the House and Senate bills made public their concerns over the lack of progress in compromising the proposed price tag of the new bill.  As of Thursday, Democrats on the committee were proposing the amount of $25 billion to help fix the broken VA system while Republicans were proposing the amount of $10 billion in emergency funding that could be increased in the next year’s budget through the regular appropriations process.  However, it appears we have reached an impasse as committee Republicans seem unwilling to move past the $10 billion mark.


Staunch veterans supporter and head of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Bernie Sanders came out swinging on Thursday in regard to committee Republicans’ absolute refusal to move from the $10 billion mark.  Sanders had previously had discussions with Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson about the amount of money needed to fix such ongoing VA issues as shortage of staff, an antiquated scheduling system, and additional space requirements for facilities.  Gibson put that number at $17.6 billion, well short of what committee Republicans were willing to offer.  In a fiery speech on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Sanders said:


“We have put good-faith offers on the table again and again and have tried to meet the Republicans more than halfway.  I can only conclude with great reluctance that the good faith we have shown is simply not being reciprocated by the other side.”


Committee Republicans, including Rep. Jeff Miller, who chairs the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, came out in response by saying Sanders was out of line and that Republicans had been negotiating in good faith.  However, this lack of progress is hurting the GOP, especially Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who has 2016 presidential ambitions.  Rubio, clearly concerned about the potential veterans vote in his home state said, “It’s unimaginable for any of us to believe we’re going to go home and this issue would be unresolved.  I think it would be viewed as unacceptable, not just by our constituents in Florida but across the country, particularly those that rely on the VA and are increasingly facing challenges in accessing that system.”


And yet, despite these strong words, Rubio and his fellow Republican committee members seem unwilling to compromise from their meager $10 billion offer.


The problem for Rubio and his fellow Republicans is that when it comes to protecting our veterans, they talk a big game.  However, when push comes to shove Congressional Republicans are simply unwilling to support our men and women who don the uniform.  The $25 billion price tag is a paltry sum to ensure the health of our nation’s veterans, especially when House Republicans recently added $287 billion to our deficit to make a permanent a series of tax breaks that help our nation’s wealthy.  For a political party that seems perfectly content to send our young men and women to war, Republicans seem to struggle to deal with supporting them once they return home.


It is this issue that has the potential to break the Republican Party in future elections.  Marco Rubio is nervous because he knows that Florida has been ground zero for the need to reform veterans facilities and to ensure our veterans are getting the care they deserve.  Should Rubio be part of a committee that is unable to come to a compromise and help reform the broken VA system, his primary opponents, as well as the voters of the state of Florida would not forget this failure.  For the Republican Party as a whole, if they are unwilling to properly provide the needed funds to help our nation’s veterans, then they can never again claim themselves to be the party that unequivocally supports the American soldier.


All this because Republicans are unwilling to pay a little extra to support our troops.


31 Replies to “Freedom Isn’t Free: Republicans Refuse to Compromise on VA Reform”

  1. These greedpigs WASTED $24 Billion shutting down the government over healthcare; now after BLOWING at least a TRILLION$ on wars of choice; injuring, maiming over 1,000,000 American veterans, killing over 5,000 service members; these PIGS who work less than 4 months in a year while soldiers have spent 12 YEARS IN WAR; do not want to keep their promise of taking care of them upon their return from battlefields.


    BTW Congress, WHY are you sending 3 combat battalions (2 from 101st Airborne; 1 from 82nd Airborne) BACK to a war that is ENDING? These soldiers DESERVE a Congress that supports them!

  2. I’m sure these pigs will spin this into the ground on all their favorite Sunday MSM shows, oh that would be all the MSM channels, because they don’t dare step out of line because the repigs own them.

  3. It strikes me that the Tea Party/Republican party position about caring for our military is exactly like their position on the national debt.

    Both are circumstances in which our government has spent resources already, and now the payment has come due — and they want to renege.

    They seem constitutionally incapable of understanding when they ring up a debt, it has to be paid, and they shouldn’t act like they didn’t know the pricetag or the obligations they incurred.

  4. This is a travesty. Our veterans deserve the absolute best benefits. These are the men and women who have given their lives to support our freedoms. Many did not return, and their families as well deserve the best from this country.

    I am sick over this, just sick. The GOP has no soul and now they have proven it more than ever.

  5. The problems at the VA are not a result of lack of funding. Perhaps more could be accomplished in this country if we decided to stop the name calling and try to have an honest discussion based on facts.

  6. It just proves what I’ve been saying for years. All those flag waving, lapel pin wearing, God bless America, support the troops Republicans really don’t give a damn about soldiers and veterans. From Rumsfeld’s ” you fight with the Army you got” to this VA situation, soldiers and veterans are merely props to be used to divide the electorate and to raise money so they can hold on to power. ANY veteran who votes Republican is voting against his/her’s own self interest. THAT NEEDS TO STOP.

  7. Over 250 Billion Dollars in tax cuts and they do not want to give the VA desperately needed funds! I wonder how the GOP would react if ALL of the military said fine you do this crap yourself and refused to serve any longer?
    Hey GOP not taking care of your veterans and military is like playing catch with an armed nuclear war head, just not smart!

  8. The problems at the VA are funding problems and have nothing to do with name calling. Perhaps if the gop would stop cutting funds for the VA we wouldnt have these problems

  9. Those chicken$hits wouldn’t never shed they’re own blood for their country, why would they really care about those that do.

  10. What I want to know is the one person who are given downvotes. Don’t be a coward. State your case why you disagree

  11. At the beginning of the article, you state that they are leading up to a well-deserved break in the August recess. I beg to differ. This has been the least productive Congress in history, mostly due to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. They don’t deserve a break at all, and in fact, they all deserve to be fired come November.

  12. Good question djchefron, I was wondering the same. Who thinks providing for our veterans is a negative????

  13. I do believe the downvotes were posted by M. E.. That post was the only one that disagreed with the article, the time frame fits (there were no more downvotes after his/her post)and it was only 1 person doing it.

    M. E. You wanted to have an “honest discussion based on facts”, ok then present some of those facts and lets have that discussion. I really would like to hear your arguments. It is dishonest to throw out that idea and then walk away. A bit cowardly too.

  14. The realities the right are trying to ignore …

    “The Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, taken together, will be the most expensive wars in US history – totaling somewhere between $4 to $6 trillion. This includes long-term medical care and disability compensation for service members, veterans and families … The largest portion of that bill is yet to be paid … These benefits will increase further over the next 40 years … The legacy of decisions taken during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will dominate future federal budgets for decades to come”

  15. Oh come now, I am sure Hannity and the Fox Conclave can get all of those ammosexuals on board for the next fight. I mean, they all want to use their weapons. Look to the border with Mexico they are lining up to repel boarders. So why not throw them to the Ukraine, Syria, Libya or Iraq. I mean, they seem to be so eager to pull their triggers, why not in a place where it counts?

  16. Maybe you want to try that again. How about “The problems at the VA are not *JUST* a result of lack of funding.” It ain’t name calling when people talk out their ass on *THIS* very important subject and are called on it. Yes there is more to it than JUST funding but it *IS* a funding problem. Do you get it NOW?

  17. The problems getting, the republicans to act,on veterans funding, is no different, than any other bill. The republicans, and tea party extremists, are totally disfuncianial, wont even vote on anything,

  18. I am sure the tea baggers have sons and daughters who will be lining up to fight for the country if another conflict should break out. Romney, Scarboro and their ilk have strapping grown up sons!

  19. “Support our troops” is such a warm fuzzy, flag waving, patriotic thing to say.
    However, it means more than finding a conflict in some hot, sandy, third world country, saddling them with very limited terms of engagement, placing them in harm’s way, separating them from their families, then thanking them on military appreciation day at a sporting event.

  20. Why we all have difficulties understanding and accepting the simple fact that for them, the word “compromise” is defined as “You give in to us”. Then we see stories like this with incredulity. This isn’t that complicated. If they don’t get their way, the answer is always no.

  21. Get those rotten pieces of shit out of Congress. NOW! Don’t wait until we vote them out. Kick their asses out with no further pay and no perks – ever!

    I’ve never hated anyone in my life until these deceitful, ill-mannered embarrassments of elected officials took an oath of office and immediately abandoned it. They are worthless, useless, evil scum. Stop giving all our goddam money to the wealthy and maybe you can take care of the Veterans sooner. How dare they abuse the system for as long as they have and nobody, not a goddam soul has done a thing to stop their bullcrap.

    We Vietnam Veterans didn’t go to that wretched undeclared conflict so that we’d have to grow old and become neglected by elected officials who despise their own people and want to take our nation out from under us. And the volunteers who joined for love of country? I guess the filthy thugs who can’t think for themselves but must follow every move of the bigots that the Tea Party is made up of.

  22. I’m not finished with those losers. What makes them think people who’ve lost their sons or daughters in their lousy made-up wars will want to vote for them after the mess they’ve made of this country?
    Do they really believe crippled, maimed, broken and without limbs want bastards like them overseeing anything to do with Veterans?
    The next goddam time you swine want to steal another country’s pride and dignity and whatever goods you can haul out from your conquering ways, go do it your damned selves. See how you like being shot at and torn apart by shrapnel. Take your friggin’ children with you when you go. Get blown up by roadside bombs. The world will be a hell of a lot better off without the lot of you.
    If you pricks can pull your heads out of the assholes of the Koch Brothers and wipe the slime out of your eyes and look what you’ve done to this nation without someone telling you what to do, then you need to stand in front of the White House and first apologize to…

  23. …President Obama and his family. Admit to him what the rest of us have known all along, that you pukes wanted his Presidency to fail not because he’s a black man but because your wealthy bribers told you to make it fail. Admit that he succeeded despite you obstruction, filibusters, wasting damned tax dollars on numerous attempts to repeal ACA, shutdowns and naming Eric Cantor America’s First Dictator.
    There will be no dictator in America. There will be no corporate takeover. We the people run this country, not you filthy scum in Congress. And that goes for the Democrats of my state who refused to respond to my concerns and instead blocked my emails. Count your investments because that’s all you’ll have to live on if we get our way and you people are kicked out and hopefully all sent to prison for treason and sedition. You have abused the people and this nation and you do not deserve another day of the privilege of taking our tax dollars as pay while accepting millions in bribes….

  24. …from the wealthy to do them the favor of handing our nation over to them to rule with iron fists. Corporations are not people and that is going to come to an end soon, as well. They can’t fuck with the American people and get away with it. Out with you and with the Gang of Five in Congress and every sleazy Tea Party member who has made madness out of the red states, leaving true Americans frightened and angry. You are not Americans. You cannot have our country just because you want it. You cannot make this a Christian nation, even if you had real Christians backing you, which you don’t. Christians don’t hate anyone. Your supporters hate anyone who doesn’t go along with their bullshit. Tell your supporters you lied about Obama taking their guns and Michelle Obama having 2000 guillotines hidden across the land. Ha. You’ll never tell the truth. Not ’til your dying days.

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