Monday, November 16, 2015

GOP Blocks Veterans Bill

The Hill reports GOP blocks veterans bill.

"Senate Republicans stopped Democrats from advancing a bill that would have expanded healthcare and education programs for veterans. In a 56-41 vote Thursday, the motion to waive a budget point of order against the bill failed, as Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome the Republican roadblock. GOP Sens. Dean Heller (Nev.) and Jerry Moran (Kan.) voted with Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) refused to allow a GOP substitute amendment to get an up-or-down vote because it included Iran sanctions, which he said were unrelated to veterans’ issues."

While this case also has the Iran sanction angle, the reason for all of these kinds of disputes is how is the bill paid for. If Democrats had their way, I'm sure they'd just raise a tax, and to help veterans I'd hope the American people would be okay with that. But no, Republicans hate all taxes, feeling we pay enough already and so the current rules are that all expenditures must be paid for by eliminating something else we currently pay for.

In this case, "Sanders paid for the more than $20 billion bill by limiting overseas contingency funds from 2018-2021. Republicans have said the early troop withdrawals in Afghanistan and Iraq have overextended funds in the Overseas Contingency Operations account. They argue it’s not a real pay-for because those funds are essentially “off budget” and not subject to discretionary spending caps."

So now we're arguing semantics instead of helping veterans. Jon Stewart would be bringing this up on The Daily Show. He might still in whatever new capacity he can (maybe an op-ed). I doubt Trevor Noah will. Maybe John Oliver will. In the mean time, veterans pay the price.

I think Democrats should propose a bill that straight up pays for it with a tax on high frequency trading and when Republican lawmakers reject it, make them explain it to the American people.

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