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Legion: Senate vote on veterans bill ‘inexcusable’

American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger expressed frustration and disappointment with Thursday’s Senate debate that effectively killed S. 1982, the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014.

The Senate voted 56-41 to waive an extra budget point of order made against the bill – four votes short of what was needed to move the legislation onto a full Senate vote – ending floor consideration of the measure.

"Today, the Senate had a chance to put aside partisan politics and do what was right for the men and women who have sacrificed so much while wearing our nation’s uniform," Dellinger said. "Instead, we saw the same political gamesmanship that led our federal government to a shutdown last fall. There was a right way to vote and a wrong way to vote today, and 41 senators chose the wrong way. That’s inexcusable."

In addition to including a full repeal of the military retiree cost-of-living-adjustment reduction recently passed by Congress, S. 1982 also included provisions expanding current caregiver law to involve all generations of veterans; providing advance appropriations to ensure monthly compensation and pension, as well as education payments, are protected from future budget battles; offering in-state tuition protection for recently transitioned veterans, improving access to mental health and treatment for victims of sexual assault in the military, and authorizing construction of more than 20 community-based outpatient clinics to serve veterans in rural and remote communities.

"I don’t know how anyone who voted ‘no’ today can look a veteran in the eye and justify that vote," Dellinger said. "Our veterans deserve more than what they got today."

 

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Mark Welsh

July 25, 2014 - 2:03am

I have sympathy for vets, but as American hero Donald Rumsfeld said, you go to war with the army you are given. You also come home and deal with the aftermath like a man, instead of crying over some imaginary benefits that you were never promised and may or may not deserve. What a bunch of whiners. Proud Republicans know the country has no money for veterans benefits and they are doing the fiscally responsible thing. Stop disgracing your uniform with your complaining. You people are as disgusting as those who get food stamps and unemployment insurance. Man up.

David lather

July 31, 2014 - 12:15pm

So getting your freedom for nothing is not a handout Im sure you never served and never will you sir are a joke and that's being kind

Heather Johnson U. S. Senate Candidate

May 29, 2014 - 12:58am

The truth on this issue is this, both the DFL and the GOP have supported military action overseas. It is neither a left or right winged issue. Seeing that unfold in the public eye under GWB and Obama, we cannot lie to ourselves and the nation anymore. Looking at the track record of military action in the US as much if not more was initiated by the DFL as the GOP. The truth is, military veterans are promised a number of things upon enlisting and we owe it to them to fulfill that promise. I certainly agree that war for profit is wrong, but it should be legislators that pay for those mistakes not veterans. In the Constitution, supposedly only Congress has the right to declare war, our government has gone around that numerous times. Since Congress chooses to disregard their legal obligations to the people regarding military action or acts of war or war as people like to play word games, it should fall on Congress to deal with consequences of those choices. Perhaps they'd think twice about how to spend money and for whom they show favor if they were actually held accountable. Who am I to speak? Someone who is sick of it and willing to try and challenge this same old routine.

Kevin Jones

May 31, 2014 - 11:18pm

What is the DFL? Please spell it out then, in parentheses, define the abbreviation.

bruce steinberg

May 31, 2014 - 7:25pm

every republican voted down this bill but that is not suprising since they done so repeatedly in the past i follow the votes for vet bills and their is a web site you check on the records of both sides and the gop comes in at whopping D_F

bilbo1

May 26, 2014 - 2:15am

news flash , we are broke . all these billons we are borrowing will HAVE TO BE PAID BACK !!!! courtousy of our children ! democrats , make the cuts first , then spend the money on them ! enough of the lies !

US Vet

May 27, 2014 - 7:35pm

Bilbo, Your logic is flawed, We the U.S. borrowed to go to war. Thanks to GWB and his band of nit-wits. These men and women deserve the help they truly need, no matter what the price. Typical Right Wing nut. Freedom isn't free.

Kevin Jones

May 31, 2014 - 11:20pm

My thoughts exactly except the Right Wing Nut part.

Allen Putnam - US Naval Veteran (Disabled)

May 20, 2014 - 10:17am

Out of respect to those who have served the nation (I being one of them) and for the taxpayers, I am in agreement with those who voted "Nay". Rather than expanding and reauthorizing troubled programs, Congress needs to first evaluate what works. Looking ahead, legislators should pursue cost-savings reforms that align incentives with the needs of our veterans, a modern military, and fiscal reality. Such changes should include injecting private-sector standards and discipline into the VA medical system and providing new enlistees with defined contribution retirement plans. This bill will cost taxpayers $30 billion over the next 10 years. It does not intend to fix the current broken system....it adds new federal jobs to a system that needs a massive overhaul.

C Allen

May 24, 2014 - 5:55pm

Thank you from the Industrial Military Complex. After all they are only people.

lawdawg

May 23, 2014 - 2:42pm

Very well said!

Leftyr

May 24, 2014 - 8:13am

Being one of the lesser vets,(No Combat)my heart bleeds for any and all vets who serve and have served to maintain our freedoms. The chicanery Obama's gang has used in their attempts to discredit republicans has constantly shown through these past six years. A billion dollar stipend wouldn't even purchase vacation time for those in this administration who should be fired outright. I thought Benghazi was a travesty, but secretly condemming veterans to death is by far worse. Believe me, when the Obama gang extends an open hand it only means that they only want more.

charrles mullen

March 7, 2014 - 8:46am

After this slap in the face by repubs. The editors of the legion magazine, will continue to support republicans. WHY? C.MULLEN

Roskelley

March 6, 2014 - 5:51pm

A promise gave is a debt unpaid. Robert Service

Tracker Howard, AF 68-72

March 6, 2014 - 4:01pm

Just to be clear, all the republican senators either voted "NO", OR two republican senators DID NOT even bother TO VOTE, at all.

FOREST WEBB

March 6, 2014 - 3:31pm

I did not join I was drafted. I was able to attend college on the GI Bill and to buy my first home with a VA loan. Then Reagan got in office and the GI Bill was changed. Veterans lost benefits. The public lost tax deductions and the country went all probusiness. We lost our jobs and our benefits. Now the unemployed are being cut off and they want to cut welfare and all entitlements. Wonder when the revelution will come?

Michael Woods

April 16, 2014 - 10:42pm

Actually Forest, the GI Bill was changed on 1 January 1977. It went from the old program that you are familiar with to a bastardization called VEAP, I know because I was "covered" under it. Later, during the Reagan years the Montgomery GI Bill was implemented which was better than the program I was forced into. To be sure, neither side of the aisle are innocent of not taking care of veterans.

Justin B

April 29, 2014 - 3:33am

Correct Michael. "In 1985, a bill sponsored by Democratic Congressman "Sonny" Gillespie V. Montgomery expanded the G.I. Bill. The MGIB replaced the VEAP for those who served after July 1, 1985." I'm going to call and demand an answer to this vote. It appears to be a Democrat bill but why vote no unless there is some pork riding it?

Miles K

March 3, 2014 - 12:03am

If it was a good bill for the Veterans and the Country the Republicans would have passed it. Democrats are in the process of gutting our military and cutting spending at every corner... this bill was not a good bill and had lots of strings attached that were deemed unacceptable to those who actually READ the bills they vote for ... unlike Pelosi and Reid's groups in Congress!

Julie

April 25, 2014 - 12:26pm

SEE, I am thinking the same thing. The bareness of it says the VETS lost their benis but there had to be PORK attached to this. THAT is what needs to change, is the porkulous that keeps GOOD laws from being passed.

DIANNA

May 26, 2014 - 3:19am

According to what the Republicans said themselves, this was a political vote. They wanted to attach more sanctions on Iran to this bill and wanted a straight yes or no vote on that. Harry Reid blocked that. Whether that was because he wanted discussion or because he didn't want it attached to this bill, I don't know. Bernie Sanders, bill's author, said cost would/could be covered by the saved money from the troop drawdown. Read the bill and decide if there was pork. I didn't see any.

CMM

April 8, 2014 - 6:18am

I beg to differ with you! This bill would have expanded healthcare for many veterans who are also deserving of what they were promised when they joined. This bill would have put VA appropriations for benefits in the same policy that the VA healthcare falls under if there is another government shutdown. It would have expanded VA facilities to accommodate the surge of veterans being discharged from the service. There were no attachments tacked on to this bill. In fact the reason the republicans voted against it was due to the fact they wanted to tack on funding for defense against Iran. Read the bill. It was a sad day again when republicans shot down this bill, another slap in the face and again using the Veterans as a pawn to get their way. They are disgraceful and all should be fired. Especially Ted Cruz! He is a liar and caused many veterans a lot of unneeded stress by making them worry about how they will pay for their living expenses for their families.

Bexcee

March 6, 2014 - 9:28pm

It was procedural. Dems wouldn't let GOP add amendment to supply some of the funding by removing massive tax credits that are given every year to undocumented foreigners in our borders. NTM, what happened to Senate Dems being the majority? Dems know they are in trouble with the Veterans and are trying to make GOP look worse than all the Corporatist Dems & GOP look anyway. Google 'the politics of procedure'. It explains it quite nicely.

Cmm

April 8, 2014 - 6:23am

The dems still are the majority but the republicans voted a bill that required them to have 51 votes. They did this prior to the bill being introduced, knowing this would cause the bill to be voted down. If the Repub. cared they would have compromised by bringing a bill to vote for helping vets. If I had known the American Legion is only for Republicans, I would have never renewed my membership.

David Dean

March 5, 2014 - 8:41am

Did you even read this article and the Commander's comments? Have YOU even read S 1982 yourself? I have and I defy you to find a SINGLE provision in that bill that is not focused on improving the pension, health care and education benefits of veterans and their families. Your obvious blind partisan loyalty to republicans has mislead you yet again to defend their 41 no votes based purely on your bias and speculative assumptions instead of facts. Your other error is that the military cuts being considered are a direct requirement of the BIPARTISAN budget sequester deal from 2 years ago. The only republicans who voted against the sequester wanted even MORE budget cuts! Quit trying to defend the indefensible with mere smear and spin.

Walter K

March 7, 2014 - 10:35am

A bill is just beyond the initial words that proposes the initial purpose of a bill. I have not read the bill, but I guarantee you that if I read the bill as well as the other law-trained readers read the bill, we would find multiple issues in the drafting of the bill in some form that would require the courts to get involved. Just saying that poorly written legislation, politically or in actuality, causes problems for the courts to resolve.

KYfields

May 14, 2014 - 1:09pm

"I have not read the bill"..."a bill is just beyond the initial words that proposes the initial purpose of a bill" . First an admission of ignorance on a subject you were professing knowledge of, followed by one of the most incomprehensible English sentences ever composed in a sad attempt to appear to have a modicum of intelligence. You are "law trained" but can not compose a single sentence with subject verb agreement. I believe I understand what you are "just saying", which is essentially that you are certain you would oppose anything that might contradict your limited simple worldview and just assume that there is no situation in life, nor argument, (even one of which you know absolutely nothing of the facts) in which you believe your preconceived notions coUuld be proved wrong. This is the sad state of political discourse while our men and women go untreated.

GaryC

March 4, 2014 - 2:15pm

I'm not quite sure what you mean. Are you saying that the GOP would've passed the Bill if it wasn't for the pork that was in it? And that it is the fault of the Dems that it didn't pass?

Sgt Jesse Burton

March 2, 2014 - 11:21am

I didn't join for benefits. They are very nice to have, and I'm glad that I'm out and using them for education. I have a family of 4 plus a dog, so it has been very useful to me. I've never trusted our Government. Where in history have they remained faithful to us? That's not why we fight. We fight for our families. We fight for friends and neighbors. You can't look at one bill and say, "there is the problem. Let's get that through. And everything will be safe." None of it is safe. No matter what you have put into law, everything can be reversed. You have to get Lobbyism out of Politics. Until that is removed and the whole way of campaigning is changed, you will see the same tireless crap over and over again.

Bulldog2020

May 30, 2014 - 8:00pm

I didn't join for benefits either. Bullets in my hide changed that paradigm for me. I didn't fight for my family or my friends and neighbors. I fought for the guys next to me. But you're right. The government has a long history of ignoring veterans when its time to fulfill promises. That doesn't make it right. And I will continue to fight for the people alongside me and demand proper treatment for veterans whether politicians understand that or not.

cmm

April 8, 2014 - 6:28am

So you are saying the men and woman who have lost their legs or are unable to obtain fruitful employment should not be given the benefits they were told they would get when they joined. How do you expect them to live? They did not ask to get hurt on the job. It is pitiful that you feel this way about your comrades in arms!

Leftyr

May 24, 2014 - 8:44am

Your remarks are rather childish, actually bordering on anile I might say. No where did the Sgt. make such remarks. Such a pity you would put unsaid and unfounded words in his mouth.

GaryC

March 4, 2014 - 2:20pm

You are mostly correct. It took us years for them to admit that Agent Orange was the culprit in many problems vets were having in later years. It seems that the only time they kept the faith was w/our WWII brothers. But it should be apparent to all by this time this country has broken the bond, and gone back on promises made. I didn't join for the benefits either, I joined because I wanted to, I served and enjoyed most of it.

thomassjay

March 1, 2014 - 8:11am

Help ..Turn tammy duckworth loose on them...

J. Don

February 28, 2014 - 9:12pm

You know there were many bill within that Omnibus Bill S 1982 that had no business being there and should not have been tied up within except for a few who would prefer to deal with a bill bill than a group of large bill because they cannot hide anything in the smaller ones. Yet many smaller bills had no cost and should have been allowed to move forward on their own merit had either party not allowed their own agenda get in the way. Until we can separate some of these bill we are doomed to see this sort of thing continue unless we get more veterans in Congress and who know that a promise is meant to be kept. If we could have the members of congress spend a tour in a combat unit, we will be forced to hear the rhetoric that we hear from them all time, that they support our veterans.

Matt Damon

February 28, 2014 - 8:47pm

At the end of the day, all of us service members are exposable to the government. Democrats and Republicans could care less about us. Want to start another war, go draft those punk college kids.

GaryC

March 4, 2014 - 2:22pm

Better yet send their kids.

Dan H

February 28, 2014 - 12:10pm

The reason this is opposed by the Republicans at large is because of how it is funded. It will reduce much of the Overseas Contingency Operations funding and that is the issue. The reason the Democrats pushed the vote is to put the Republicans in the embarrassing spotlight of having to vote against a veterans bill. The Democrats knew that people would respond emotionally without knowing the full story. Remember, it's an election year, and don't think the timing of this was lost on anyone in D.C. Do you really think that Senator Harry Reid is interested in "doing what's right" for service men and women? Really? And do you really think Republicans are voting against this bill because they don't care about the veterans? Really? If you believe that, then you have fallen for the Democrats' trick of actually making you feel like they are for the service men and women and the Republicans aren't. Oh please.

David Lather

July 31, 2014 - 12:28pm

What is the real story its cut and dry you either vote in favor are you don't When bush was president I could not get my benefits now that Obama is president now I can The bottom line when you send men and women to war you take care of them when they return also without our vets there would not be a United States of America and that is a fact you cannot deny thanks a Vietnam era vet

GaryC

March 4, 2014 - 2:25pm

Consider this: If they can send several Billion to the Ukraine, then someone needs to explain again to me the problem of funding!

Jeff B. US Army OEF Medic

March 2, 2014 - 9:17am

It will reduce the O.C.O funding by a few pennies on the dollar. That is a horrible excuse to vote against the bill! Those few pennies will help make sure the VA can care for the military members involved in the O.C.O's!

Paula Gehrig

February 27, 2014 - 7:17pm

People who hide behind the veil of anonymity are cowards who don't have the courage of their convictions. Talk about lack of intelligence between the ears, they can't even spell their own name!

ajcasillas

February 27, 2014 - 7:00pm

source govtrack all but two republican senators voted against our veterans Senate Vote #46 2014-02-27T14:26:00 - On the Motion (Motion to Waive All Applicable Budgetary Discipline Re: S.1982) 412602 MT Yea John Walsh Democrat 412598 NJ Yea Cory Booker Democrat 412582 VA Yea Timothy Kaine Democrat 412554 ND Yea Heidi Heitkamp Democrat 412542 MA Yea Elizabeth Warren Democrat 412507 HI Yea Brian Schatz Democrat 412490 CT Yea Richard Blumenthal Democrat 412391 WV Yea Joe Manchin III Democrat 412390 DE Yea Chris Coons Democrat 412378 MN Yea Alan “Al” Franken Democrat 412330 CO Yea Michael Bennet Democrat 412326 AK Yea Mark Begich Democrat 412325 OR Yea Jeff Merkley Democrat 412324 NC Yea Kay Hagan Democrat 412323 NH Yea Jeanne Shaheen Democrat 412321 VA Yea Mark Warner Democrat 412281 NM Yea Martin Heinrich Democrat 412247 RI Yea Sheldon Whitehouse Democrat 412246 PA Yea Robert “Bob” Casey Jr. Democrat 412244 MT Yea Jon Tester Democrat 412243 MO Yea Claire McCaskill Democrat 412242 MN Yea Amy Klobuchar Democrat 412223 NY Yea Kirsten Gillibrand Democrat 412205 IN Yea Joe Donnelly Democrat 412200 HI Yea Mazie Hirono Democrat 412194 CT Yea Christopher Murphy Democrat 400413 NM Yea Tom Udall Democrat 400412 CO Yea Mark Udall Democrat 400272 NJ Yea Robert “Bob” Menéndez Democrat 400253 MA Yea Edward “Ed” Markey Democrat 400064 MD Yea Benjamin Cardin Democrat 400050 OH Yea Sherrod Brown Democrat 400013 WI Yea Tammy Baldwin Democrat 300100 OR Yea Ron Wyden Democrat 300093 MI Yea Debbie Stabenow Democrat 300087 NY Yea Charles “Chuck” Schumer Democrat 300084 WV Yea John “Jay” Rockefeller IV Democrat 300082 NV Yea Harry Reid Democrat 300081 RI Yea John “Jack” Reed Democrat 300080 AR Yea Mark Pryor Democrat 300078 FL Not Voting Bill Nelson Democrat 300076 WA Yea Patty Murray Democrat 300073 MD Yea Barbara Mikulski Democrat 300066 MI Yea Carl Levin Democrat 300065 VT Yea Patrick Leahy Democrat 300063 LA Yea Mary Landrieu Democrat 300058 SD Yea Tim Johnson Democrat 300051 IA Yea Thomas “Tom” Harkin Democrat 300043 CA Yea Dianne Feinstein Democrat 300038 IL Yea Richard Durbin Democrat 300019 DE Yea Thomas Carper Democrat 300018 WA Yea Maria Cantwell Democrat 300011 CA Yea Barbara Boxer Democrat 412545 ME Yea Angus King Independent 400357 VT Yea Bernard “Bernie” Sanders Independent 412573 TX Nay Ted Cruz Republican 412556 NE Nay Deb Fischer Republican 412496 WI Nay Ron Johnson Republican 412495 UT Nay Mike Lee Republican 412494 ND Nay John Hoeven Republican 412493 NH Nay Kelly Ayotte Republican 412492 KY Nay Rand Paul Republican 412491 FL Nay Marco Rubio Republican 412471 SC Nay Tim Scott Republican 412322 ID Nay James Risch Republican 412320 NE Nay Mike Johanns Republican 412251 WY Nay John Barrasso Republican 412248 TN Nay Bob Corker Republican 412218 NV Yea Dean Heller Republican 402675 IN Nay Daniel Coats Republican 400576 OK Nay Thomas Coburn Republican 400546 SD Nay John Thune Republican 400432 MS Not Voting Roger Wicker Republican 400418 LA Nay David Vitter Republican 400408 PA Nay Patrick “Pat” Toomey Republican 400325 OH Nay Robert “Rob” Portman Republican 400284 KS Yea Jerry Moran Republican 400222 IL Nay Mark Kirk Republican 400194 GA Nay John “Johnny” Isakson Republican 400134 AZ Nay Jeff Flake Republican 400054 NC Nay Richard Burr Republican 400040 AR Nay John Boozman Republican 400034 MO Nay Roy Blunt Republican 300089 AL Nay Richard Shelby Republican 300088 AL Nay Jefferson “Jeff” Sessions Republican 300083 KS Nay Pat Roberts Republican 300075 AK Not Voting Lisa Murkowski Republican 300072 KY Nay Mitch McConnell Republican 300071 AZ Nay John McCain Republican 300055 OK Nay James “Jim” Inhofe Republican 300052 UT Nay Orrin Hatch Republican 300048 IA Nay Charles “Chuck” Grassley Republican 300047 SC Nay Lindsey Graham Republican 300041 WY Nay Michael Enzi Republican 300030 ID Nay Michael Crapo Republican 300027 TX Nay John Cornyn Republican 300025 ME Nay Susan Collins Republican 300023 MS Nay Thad Cochran Republican 300021 GA Nay Saxby Chambliss Republican 300002 TN Nay Lamar Alexander Republican

RonFrumAmaireeka

February 27, 2014 - 11:24pm

@ ajcasillas - Thank you for posting this. Now we know where the two parties really stand!

bobcook

February 27, 2014 - 4:41pm

yes i agree, we would like the names and email addresses of those Senators who voted both for and against, this should be public information easily attained and published by the A L

Chuck wininger

February 27, 2014 - 4:12pm

How do we find out who voted for and against??

Cmm

April 8, 2014 - 6:31am

Go to the DA. site, it was posted immediately after the votes.

James A. Davis

February 27, 2014 - 5:02pm

All Senate Democrats voted FOR the bill. All but 2 Senate Republicans voted AGAINST it. Therefor the Senate Republicans can certainly be blamed for shooting this down. Which is ironic since they are the ones that put service members in harms way in the first place. This is the 2nd time Republicans have done this. 2 years ago you may remember when Senate Republicans shot down a bill that would have given tax relief to businesses who hire veterans.

Levoyd Williams

February 28, 2014 - 5:19am

And yet most leaders of the military side with that party.

David Dean

February 27, 2014 - 4:11pm

Give us the roll call of the 41! Why do you carefully refuse to mention that ALL of the no votes were republicans??? They were miffed because Harry reid refused to let them add a non-relevant amendment to impose new sanctions on Iran. They wanted that amendment because they knew it would be a "poison pill" to kill the bill entirely. How are you repug lovers going to blame this one on the President?

Anonymous

February 27, 2014 - 4:14pm

Your president is a full of lies and responsible for benghazi

Daid Lather

July 31, 2014 - 12:32pm

The subject is the Va benefits thanks stay on the subject

Anonymous

February 27, 2014 - 8:06pm

Right-wing ideology is full of lies and responsible for the death of thousands and the misery of millions.

Anonymouser

February 27, 2014 - 6:38pm

And your family is responsible for the utter lack of intelligence between your ears.

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