On June 13, the Senate passed a bill designed to remedy the long delays veterans endure at the Veterans Administration by giving it extra funds for more clinics and medical personnel. It was similar to an earlier bill that had passed the House unanimously. The bills now go to a reconciliation committee before heading for President Barack Obama’s desk.
The Senate bill passed 93-3. It was sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. and John McCain, R-Ariz. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill will cost about $35.5 billion in its first three years and may ultimately add $50 billion to the VA’s budget.
Objections to that cost were raised by Republican Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Bob Corker of Tennessee. Their objections were voted down 75 to 19. None served in the military.
Sessions explained himself by saying, “I just don’t think we should create a blank check, an open-ended entitlement program, right now.”
Some, of course, think American veterans put their lives on the line for the rest of us and are entitled to everything the country provides them. Here’s what the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, said about that in his Second Inaugural Address:
“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has sent young people to war. It’s worth remembering that when people such as Sessions, Johnson and Corker make bad mistakes, they issue a press release, and that when a soldier makes a bad mistake, he goes home in a body bag.