Veterans organisations are not happy with U.S. Senate Republicans today, after a bill to expand health care and education programs for veterans failed to gain enough support to move forward, Reuters reports.
From Washington Post:
The measure, sponsored by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), collapsed after failing to garner enough Republican votes to waive the VA spending cap established in a budget deal Congress and President Obama approved in December. Sanders’s office estimated that the VA legislation would have cost $US20 billion over 10 years.
60 votes were needed to waive the budget rule but 41 of 45 Republicans voted against it, effectively killing the bill.
Calling it “Senate Shenanigans,” the non-profit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America lamented senate leaders who were engaged in “procedural games.”
“It has been a winter of discontent, starting when Congress cut military retirement benefits before being pressured into reversing course,” IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff said in a statement. “Then earlier this week, Congress forced the Pentagon to make budget cuts that increased living costs for our service members. And now the Senate can’t pass a critical and transformative bill that includes priorities that have garnered bipartisan support for years.”
And this from the American Legion:
“I don’t know how anyone who voted ‘no’ today can look a veteran in the eye and justify that vote,” American Legion national commander Daniel M. Dellinger told WaPo. “Our veterans deserve more than what they got today.”
Some Republicans reasoned that the bill would be too costly for the budget, but others, led by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tried to add new sanctions against Iran to the bill that the White House has strongly opposed, according to Reuters.
“The issue of Iran sanctions … has nothing to do with the needs of veterans,” Sanders told Reuters.
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