U.S. Senate Republicans blocked legislation on Thursday that would have expanded federal healthcare and education programs for veterans, saying the $24 billion bill would bust the budget.The Washington Post has more on that budget issue:
A broad Department of Veterans Affairs bill that would have expanded benefits for former service members and repealed a military pension cut for future troops was rejected in the Senate on Thursday.And some on how Veterans' groups are reacting to a "no" vote:
The measure, sponsored by Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), did not garner enough Republican votes to waive a VA spending limit established under the budget Congress and President Obama approved in December. Sanders’s office estimated that his legislation, which included more than 140 provisions, would have cost $21 billion over 10 years.
Veterans groups expressed frustration with the bill’s failure, saying it fell victim to Washington’s partisan politics. The measure was four votes shy of a 60-vote threshold required for it to have advanced.A "no" vote was needed to waive the budgetary constraints an allow this bill to proceed. Guess who voted "no" on waiving the constraints on $21 billion over ten years?
“I don’t know how anyone who voted ‘no’ today can look a veteran in the eye and justify that vote,” said Daniel M. Dellinger, national commander of the American Legion. “Our veterans deserve more than what they got today.”
Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey.
This week Senator Toomey actually sent out an email touting a picture of him (sincere face included) meeting with some members of the Disabled American Veterans - the sorts of veterans who would've been helped by the bill he voted to kill and the same group that supported the bill.
The subject line of the email read "Outrageous" but I am not sure he got the full meaning of that.