Politicus USA- by Jason Easley
The Senate has passed the Sanders-McCain Veterans Bill that will allow vets to go to private providers if they can’t get an appointment at a VA facility, and fund the building of 26 with only three Republicans voting no.
The Republican brigade of senators who claim that the bill is too expensive was led by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) who claimed that bill creates a new unlimited “entitlement for veterans.” He said that three years worth of spending on vets is too much, and he demanded that the Senate offset the cost with spending cuts. Sessions said that he can’t suggest to his colleagues that the budget violation in the bill be waived.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) came to the floor and angrily told Sen. Sessions that this is an emergency and that the bill should not be delayed, and he urged his colleagues to vote against Sessions’ attempt to slow down the bill with a budget order. McCain also told the Senate to vote 100-0 for the bill.
In one of those politics make strange bedfellows moments, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) followed McCain and explained the data showing how big of an emergency this is for our vets. Sanders said, “If you want to provide timely care to veterans….it is going to cost money.” Sanders also pointed out that Congress funded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with emergency funding and the costs of the VA is less than 1% of what they spent on the wars.
A procedural vote to on the budget point of order passed with 75 votes, but 19 Republicans voted no. Sens. Colburn, Cochran, Sessions, Lee, Roberts, Flake, Coates, Corker, Paul, Shelby, Portman, Enzi, Blunt, Wicker, Barrasso, Thune, Risch, Crapo and Cruz all voted no.
After the Republican attempt to block the bill failed, the vote on final passage stands at 93-3.
The White House announced that President Obama will sign the bill via an OMB statement:
The Administration recognizes and appreciates the service and sacrifice made by servicemembers and veterans on behalf of the American people, and is committed to ensuring that we care for and honor our servicemembers, veterans, and their families. S. 2450 would make a number of changes to authorities related to, among other things, improving access to care, training and hiring of health care staff, health care related to military sexual trauma, and veterans’ education benefits. The bill reinforces a number of the Administration’s efforts to address the challenges facing today’s servicemembers, veterans, and their families. S. 2450 supports efforts to continue improving veterans’ access to healthcare, including for victims of military sexual trauma, and expanded access to education benefits for veterans.
The Administration strongly supports S. 2450 and looks forward to working with the Congress, and our veteran stakeholder community, to continue to promote the efficient use of taxpayer dollars while properly defining and implementing timely solutions to ensure that our veterans receive the care they’ve earned.
This bill is a real step towards getting rid of corrupt VA employees while importantly expanding benefits and providing funding to begin to fix the problems at the VA. The fact that only two Senate Republicans (Sessions, Corker and Johnson of Wisconsin) voted no is a sign that the VA scandal had shamed dozens of Republicans off of their stance against increased funding for veterans’ healthcare. The Senate passed bill will have to be passed by the House before it can be sent to President Obama to sign. Although there are some early signs of Republican resistance from the usual extremist House circles, if Boehner brings this bill to the floor for a vote, it will pass.
Bernie Sanders has worked tirelessly on behalf of veterans, and he showed a willingness to comprise by working with Sen. McCain to get the bill through the Senate. The McCain-Sanders bill increases funding for healthcare and care for our vets while also protecting years of future funding.
Sen. Sanders (I-VT) came through for the nation’s vets, who are closer to better access to much needed healthcare and treatment.
Bernie Sanders Delivers Big For Vets As Senate Passes Veterans’ Healthcare Bill was written by Jason Easley for PoliticusUSA.
2 thoughts on “Bernie Sanders Delivers Big For Vets As Senate Passes Veterans’ Healthcare Bill”
Nothing will change during the three VA investigation Senate hearings the VA admitted there are going to be procedures setup and it is so ham strung Veterans still will not get To use outside doctors they hold the purse strings. In fact they double talked and made all kinds of excuses and could not answer one question due to the VA’s 250 lawyers who had pre programed the panel not to answer questions and only told to say we will care for the veterans. Thi is the same story for years nothing will change unless you put PEOPLE IN JAIL. There is already whstleblowers who are being punished that came forward.
How about billionaire families and corporations, for whom our military is REALLY fighting for, PROVIDE for these vets. How come this question is never asked? That would be a “thank you for fighting for our wealth around the world”.