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News & Current Events Discuss 41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February at the General Forum; Just as I wrote yesterday that the VA problems stem more from congress than anyone else. 41 Republican Senators Voted ...

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Old 05-27-2014, 10:40 AM
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Default 41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February

Just as I wrote yesterday that the VA problems stem more from congress than anyone else.

41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February, Today They Blame the VA

Earlier this year, the GOP had a chance to prove that it could fund veterans' health care as eagerly as it borrowed for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Long before the current VA crisis, an event described as "a gift from God" by Dr. Ben Carson, Senate Republicans had a chance to vote on a landmark bill. Before the Senate vote, organizations devoted to the needs of veterans and their families offered widespread support to the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014.

On January 21, 2014 the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) wrote a letter to Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsing the legislation. The IAVA believed, "This legislation would accomplish many of the goals for which veterans and military service organizations have been advocating for years, including strengthening the Post-9/11 GI Bill, expanding advance appropriations for more of the VA's budget... and much more." The Veterans of Foreign Wars was just as enthusiastic in its support, and wrote a similar letter explaining how S.1982 would help veterans:

If signed into law, this sweeping legislation would expand and improve health care and benefit services to all generations of veterans and their families. Most notably, it would expand the current caregiver law to include all generations of veterans and provide advance appropriations to ensure monthly compensation and pension as well as education payments are protected from future budget battles. The bill also offers in-state tuition protection for recently transitioned veterans, improves access to mental health and treatment for victims of sexual assault in the military, and authorizes construction of more than 20 Community Bases Outpatient Clinics to serve veterans in rural and remote communities.

Echoing the IAVA and VFW, The Paralyzed Veterans of America stated that "This legislation marks one of the most comprehensive bills to ever be considered in the Senate or House." The PVA went on to state that, "If enacted, S. 1982 would accomplish some of the highest priorities for Paralyzed Veterans and its members." VetsFirst, another group devoted to disabled veterans, also explained "this legislation goes a long way toward fulfilling many of the current and future needs of our disabled veterans."

Furthermore, The American Legion lent "its full support" to the bill since it "addresses several high priority issues for The American Legion, like repealing the 1 percent retiree COLA provision, funding the stalled CBOCs for the VA, increasing access to health care for veterans at VA, employment and education fixes, and other programs that are important to us." In addition, The American Legion explained that the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014 was essential to veterans in other ways:

The American Legion also appreciates the many areas in which this bill addresses needed attention regarding Military Sexual Trauma counseling, additional training and assistance for Traumatic Brain Injury victims, improvements and much-needed updates to the Dependency and Indemnification Compensation program, VA's Work-Study program, and its On-the-Job Training program.

Therefore, with so much positive feedback from veterans groups about the bill, it's only logical to assume that Senate Republicans would do everything possible to ensure it became law.

Unfortunately, S.1982 was killed by Senate Republicans, with a vote of 56-41 -- only Republicans Senators voting nay and with only two Republicans voting for the bill. The logic behind every vote against the bill being Republican rests in the following statement from North Carolina Senator Richard M. Burr:

With $17 trillion in debt and massive annual deficits, our country faces a fiscal crisis of unparalleled scope. Now is not the time, in any federal department, to spend money we don't have. To be sure, there's much to like in the Sanders bill. And if those components were presented as separate, smaller bills, as part of a carefully considered long-term strategy to reform the VA, hold leadership accountable and improve services to veterans, we would have no problem extending enthusiastic support.

Also, Republicans called for sanctions on Iran to be included within the veterans' bill, and since it wasn't included within the bill, they voted against the landmark legislation. As stated by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell regarding the Iran sanctions, "There is no excuse for muzzling the Congress on an issue of this importance to our own national security."

So how did veterans feel about the February 26, 2014 vote where 41 Republicans voted against a sweeping bill to help veterans? American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger expressed his frustration with the outcome by stating, "There was a right way to vote and a wrong way to vote today, and 41 senators chose the wrong way. That's inexcusable."

As for Senator Richard Burr, he recently received a scathing letter from the Veterans of Foreign Wars pertaining to his open letter to veterans groups about the VA crisis. In addition, Burr received another response letter from the Paralyzed Veterans of America stating that, "Rest assured, you do not speak for or represent the interests of Paralyzed Veterans' members-veterans with spinal cord injury or dysfunction or any other VSO."

It should not be overlooked that veterans have been committing suicide, enduring long wait times for disability benefits, and dealing with a wide array of others issues ignored by Congress for the past decade. Also, the most indignant Republicans like Sen. Burr of North Carolina have also voted against S.1982 and now blame bureaucratic issues, rather than funding problems, as the cause of the VA crisis. Therefore, it's safe to say that the latest VA crisis and the deaths of veterans in Arizona served as convenient opportunity for the GOP to feign indignation over issues veterans have faced for years.

What better way to circumvent responsibility for underfunding the VA and voting against veteran's legislation than blaming big government? Somebody should tell Sen. Burr and the GOP that we funded both wars with "money we didn't have" and we should fund veterans health care as enthusiastically as we paid (borrowed) for two war.

41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February, Today They Blame the VA|H. A. Goodman
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:46 AM
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Default Re: 41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February

Democrats have control of the Senate. Dirty harry ried changed the filibuster rule, so this means we must blame republicans for the bill not becoming law.
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: 41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February

The bill was a pork barrel with little funding involved tosalve the long term problems now vexing the VA. It was a prime example of " just send more money." Harry Reid knew the bill had these poison pill elements when he let the legislation hit the floor.

He also knew that if it did pass, it whould fail in the House because there, even some Democrats opposed another slush fund spending bill. And the GOP majority, using the same tactics as the majority leader in the Senate, would have stopped it, if they even brought it to the floor.

As a matter of proceedure, it was a spending bill. It should not have even started in the Senate. Further, the situation at the VA is not a case of sufficient resources, but mismanagement. More money and more programs would have simply amplified this condition.

To his credit,submitting a "comprehesive" bill suggests a high degree of political accumen on the part of theaging Senator from Nevada. But even te mediafailed to consider the legislation favorably enough to embarss the GOP with it's failure. the last thing the pro Obama media wanted was to focus a spotlight on the VA.

That is, until Anderson Cooper, broke the scandal. Good for him.
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: 41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February

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Originally Posted by MrLiberty View Post
Democrats have control of the Senate. Dirty harry ried changed the filibuster rule, so this means we must blame republicans for the bill not becoming law.
The rules for the filibuster didn't change for legislation, just administration appointees except for Supreme Court justices.
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:56 AM
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Default Re: 41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February

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Originally Posted by MrLiberty View Post
Democrats have control of the Senate. Dirty harry ried changed the filibuster rule, so this means we must blame republicans for the bill not becoming law.
In a limited number of instances a simple "majority" vote does apply in the Senate but in this case it requried 60 votes and every Republican except two voted against expanding funding for the VA that every major Veterans organization supported.

Yes, it was only the Republicans that refused to fund the VA hospitals and to provide necessary services to the Veterans of the United States.
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:57 AM
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Default Re: 41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February

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Originally Posted by MrLiberty View Post
Democrats have control of the Senate. Dirty harry ried changed the filibuster rule, so this means we must blame republicans for the bill not becoming law.
That is not what the contention is….

The topic and thread title was the 41 republicans that voted against….

Those guys, not anyone else for the moment….

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Old 05-27-2014, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: 41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February

Wow, you were responding quicker than you could read it. Whatever. Point is the pro military, patriotic, all American republicans dropped the ball and the vets suffered. All because of politics.
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Originally Posted by FrancSevin View Post
The bill was a pork barrel with little funding involved tosalve the long term problems now vexing the VA. It was a prime example of " just send more money." Harry Reid knew the bill had these poison pill elements when he let the legislation hit the floor.

He also knew that if it did pass, it whould fail in the House because there, even some Democrats opposed another slush fund spending bill. And the GOP majority, using the same tactics as the majority leader in the Senate, would have stopped it, if they even brought it to the floor.

As a matter of proceedure, it was a spending bill. It should not have even started in the Senate. Further, the situation at the VA is not a case of sufficient resources, but mismanagement. More money and more programs would have simply amplified this condition.

To his credit,submitting a "comprehesive" bill suggests a high degree of political accumen on the part of theaging Senator from Nevada. But even te mediafailed to consider the legislation favorably enough to embarss the GOP with it's failure. the last thing the pro Obama media wanted was to focus a spotlight on the VA.

That is, until Anderson Cooper, broke the scandal. Good for him.
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: 41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February

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Originally Posted by FrancSevin View Post
The bill was a pork barrel with little funding involved tosalve the long term problems now vexing the VA.
Every major veterans organization supported the legislation and it was not rejected by Republicans because it was "pork barrel" spending but instead it was because it was "spending" that would benefit veterans in an already over-burdened VA system.

The real problem with the legislation is that it didn't provide enough in additional funding to address the over-burdened VA hospital system.
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Old 05-27-2014, 11:03 AM
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Default Re: 41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February

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Wow, you were responding quicker than you could read it. Whatever. Point is the pro military, patriotic, all American republicans dropped the ball and the vets suffered. All because of politics.
Some of us can read without using our finger.

To my point, the same Senate Democrats, for which you are advocating, just blocked a bill that focused on "accountability" at the VA

Senate Democrats Just Blocked a Bill to Increase Accountability at the Scandal-Plagued Veterans Affairs Department | Washington Free Beacon
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Old 05-27-2014, 11:13 AM
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Default Re: 41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February

So basically you have nothing on these fellas who are calling to trash Shenseki? I think the issue lies right where I said a long time ago. With congress.
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Some of us can read without using our finger.

To my point, the same Senate Democrats, for which you are advocating, just blocked a bill that focused on "accountability" at the VA

Senate Democrats Just Blocked a Bill to Increase Accountability at the Scandal-Plagued Veterans Affairs Department | Washington Free Beacon
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