GOP Blocking Veteran’s Bill Destroys Credibility with Troops

All it takes is 60 votes.

Senate Republicans stopped Democrats from advancing a bill that would have expanded healthcare and education programs for veterans.  In a 56-41 vote the motion to push a budget point of order against the bill failed, as Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome the Republican roadblock.  41 out of 45 Republicans senators voted against the veterans bill, despite the fact that more than two dozen veteran’s groups supported it.

While each party swears allegiance to the country’s 22 million veterans and their families, the Republican party has enjoyed the notion of being the party that’s “for the troops”.  The Republican party has consistently been the party that gave troops higher (so minuscule in totality) raises, the party that kept troop number high, and tend to pretty much not fuck the troops overall.  What happened?   They don’t want to pass it because the Dems would get the credit for it?  Because they hate Obama? Because they never gave a damn about the troops in the first place?  Did their hatred of healthcare extend to hating healthcare for vets?

Are the vets considered a part of that 47% Romney was talking about?  Are the vets not smart enough and don’t work hard enough, because they are not a part of the 7% that are totally content with the wealth gap in America?  Since the conservative/GOP stance seems to always be “well they don’t deserve it because they don’t work hard enough”, does that same loaded argument pertains to the troops as well?

Despite the fact that the military is overall conservative in nature, I never truly bought into the notion that the military is a solid for Republican votes. The military honestly always seemed to be free agents; while boasting a large conservative base, it’s primarily apolitical in nature.  It has to be.  The military doesn’t choose it’s wars.  I always figured that the troop raises high or low, were always minor and it was silly to vote straight GOP just for a tiny fraction.  Maybe I’m not the only one.  And maybe they noticed.

“I personally, I have to say this honestly, have a hard time understanding how anyone could vote for tax breaks for billionaires, for millionaires, for large corporations and then say we don’t have the resources to protect our veterans…” ~ Sen. Bernard Sanders (VT-D) Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Republicans criticized how most of Sanders’ bill was from money unspent due to the Iraq withdrawal and the winding down military involvement in Afghanistan.  The GOP says those are not real savings because “no one expected those dollars to be spent as those wars ended.”  This seems to read like this: “Just because we wind down war, it doesn’t mean we can now spend that war money on veterans.”   The notion of not supporting veterans at home with money that was supposed to go to them in war efforts anyway, sounds like an nonsensical argument at best.  If money is allotted to defense of troops in the warzone and that war ends, spend that money on the troops’ recovery on the home front.

But all is not lost on the team GOP; Senators Dean Heller (NV-R) and Jerry Moran (KS-R) seem to know how to operate autonomous from the Republican collective and they continue to fight their own party’s obstructionism on the matter.  Meanwhile, many Republicans figure that this will not be a pressing issue for those who deal with elections this year. Many calculate that the vote-pressing issue of the year will pertain to healthcare law and difficulties the Affordable Care Act has with operating properly.

Out of all the partisan divide in the Legislative Branch of government, it remains unclear how from a decade of warfare our law makers cannot come together to support the troops, literally.  This failure to support our war-fighters cheapen the praise sung by politicians across all parties and ideologies.

Photo Credit: Johnny Silvercloud

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